CREATIVITY || MAKING ME & MAKING OURSELVES

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Creativity || Making Me & Making Ourselves on VeryShannon.com #makingourselves

This year is all about changes and the search for BALANCE.

I find that sitting down at the start of each year and writing out some of my thoughts, goals, dreams etc for the upcoming year helps me to solidify my plans, keep me motivated in achieving them and also connecting with all of you.

"Life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% how we react to it."

Those of you who are longtime readers know that I have always struggled with the elusive "balance". Balancing full time work hours and being a stay at home mom with a busy husband has always been hard. I've managed it (just barely) for almost 7 years now. I've gone through years of very little sleep (and I mean very little), too much caffeine & stress, frustration, hard work, and so on to continue to grow my dreams. In between all of that has also been very special moments for both my business and my family and a lot of happiness as well. I adore my job and am so thankful for every day I get to keep doing my dream but boy do I need to make a few changes.

This year I want to focus on the word BALANCE as much as possible. I keep promising myself I will work on it, practice it and live it but it just hasn't been successful. So this year I'm taking a different approach and holding myself accountable and putting it onto the blog. I'm going for it. I'm all in my friends. It's time to take back a bit of control over my life and to start to put some more effort/time back into "making" me a better version of myself. I'll be using the hashtag #makingourselves (I explain this later on in the post) on instagram & twitter if you want to join in and also follow along with my journey.

BALANCE /// GOAL #1 - My Health
I've had health issues since I was in my twenties. Long story short I've suffered from severe endometriosis (several surgeries and complications) and back issues. I'm tired of feeling not well and continually getting sick. My immune system is just shot. So I'm taking control of my body back this year. I'm putting my health and my overall well being ahead of all my other goals this year and so far it's been amazing! I'm hoping to get stronger and healthier and also lose some weight.

My hubby surprised me with a Fitbit for xmas (I got the Charge in case you're interested) and I've been really loving it. It's amazing how such a small gadget can wake you up to your unhealthy habits and motivate you to be so much better. Between seeing how HORRIBLE my sleep habits are (more on this later) and how much better my days are when I reach over my goal of 10,000 steps it sure is motivating.

I paired my Fitbit up with the awesome app My Fitness Pal. These 2 are my best friends. I've been logging my food daily now for over a month and I am really enjoying holding myself accountable. I'm also enjoying the community of friends/family on both the Fitbit and My Fitness Pal to cheer, encourage and have fun with the journey of getting healthy. Do any of you use these? Are you on Fitbit and MyFitnessPal?

I also took a VERY hard and long look at my exercise habits. Walking the kids to school and back (when it's not monsooning out) just isn't cutting it. I realized over the last few years I've tried a few different types of workouts (classes, etc) and nothing stuck. I'm social and love the gym but it doesn't work for our nutso schedule around here. So we bit the bullet and brought the gym to us. We're the proud owners of an Elliptical machine. I know...it sounds so cliche to go buy an elliptical in January but dudes....I so need this. That bad boy is right beside my bed.....I can jump on and do my workout wearing whatever I want and watching Gilmore Girls (or whatever tv show I'm addicted to at the moment). Being able to easily fit it in when I get the chance that day is so easy. I even started rewarding myself. I can't do my night time knitting until I do my workout. And trust me, I love to knit so I will darn sure get my booty on the elliptical.

QUILTING || DOE DREAMING

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Doe by Carolyn Friedlander for @robertkaufman @cfriedlander /// VeryShannon.com

I've been doe dreaming....

I'm completely and utterly in love with the insanely talented Carolyn Friedlander's newest fabric collection "Doe" (read more on her blog here) for Robert Kaufman. As soon as I saw sneak peeks of this line I knew I had to have it! Very rarely do I ever splurge and order FQ's of an entire line of fabric. But this was a special treat for me. It wasn't easy to get either. This line sold out fast!

I've been spending the last few days sitting here just staring at all of it. I'm so inspired by the organic simplicity of the patterns and how they just speak to my brain...lol. I tend to lean towards graphic, geometric and architectural based designs. They are always my faves. And Doe is right in my happy place. A gorgeous palette featuring creams, whites, blacks, blue tones, a hit of orange and golds. Can we say perfection? Like I said....I love it. I need it all over my house.

Doe by Carolyn Friedlander for @robertkaufman @cfriedlander /// VeryShannon.com

First up is going to be a new quilt. It's been wayyyy too long since I made a quilt. I've got a free quilt pattern in the works (for the girls beds) that's been on the go since last year that I hope to get done this year (yes, they take me forever...lol) but the quilt from Doe twill be for the hubs and I. I cannot wait!

Doe by Carolyn Friedlander for @robertkaufman @cfriedlander /// VeryShannon.com

What pattern am I going to use? I'm still pondering this. I know the vibe I'm going for but at the same time I haven't found "the one" online yet. I may end up making one up for this one too. But we'll see. I love supporting other designers and using their patterns too so I'll be on the hunt for "the" one. I also need to get backing still. I wanted to see the whole line in person before I chose a print from the line for the backing. Plus I wanted to snag some of the wide width yardage for that. You can follow my "MAKE // QUILTING & PATCHWORK" pinterest board below to see what I'm crushing on.

Follow Shannon Cook || VeryShannon.com's board MAKE | quilting & patchwork on Pinterest.

If I wasn't dying to make a quilt I would be whipping up Carolyn's Nest Egg Tote Pattern. I still might do it when I'm done. I love the shape of this!
Nest Egg Tote Pattern by Carolyn Friedlander @cfriedlander
I can't wait to dive into this line and get making. Anyone else "doe" dreaming? What print is your fave? Any quilt patterns you're loving right now that Doe would work great for?

GIVEAWAY || HOME BY PAM ALLEN of QUINCE & CO.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Giveaway for new book HOME by Pam Allen of Quince & Co. on VeryShannon.com

I've been drooling over my copy of Pam Allen of Quince & Co.'s latest book HOME since I first got my hands on a copy.

I knew when I first saw the lookbook that HOME had to be mine. I am a huge fan of Pam Allen's design aesthetic and work. Throw that in with Quince & Co. yarns and you've got me head over heels in love. It's pretty much a given that I love everything Quince & Co. does...lol, but this latest collection really had me smitten. HOME features 18 knittable projects to keep you comfy! And boy do they do! I can't even pick my fave! I seriously would love to make each project.

Giveaway for new book HOME by Pam Allen of Quince & Co. on VeryShannon.com
Ranging from gorgeous cardigans with interesting shapes and details, to socks, slippers, vests, blankets & pillows and more there is a project in HOME for everyone! And since I'm so in love with HOME I knew you all would be do! I mean how could you not love this book?! So I had to giveaway a copy of the book and the ebook of HOME.

Giveaway for new book HOME by Pam Allen of Quince & Co. on VeryShannon.comGiveaway for new book HOME by Pam Allen of Quince & Co. on VeryShannon.com
You can check out all the projects below and above and drool over them by checking out the HOME lookbook HERE. And also find them on Ravelry HERE.

Which patterns are your fave? Aren't they all so pretty? Pam did an amazing job! I just want to jump in and hang out there. I love how all of Pam's patterns in HOME feature gorgeous texture and special & interesting technical details that every knitter loves! My mind just gets giddy with these kinds of patterns. And the color palette (signature Quince & Co.) just screams relaxation and calm. I want to snuggle up in all of them......and knit ;)

Here's some more pics from HOME. Drool away my friends.....and then when you are done getting inspired enter to win a copy of HOME at the bottom of this post.

SEWING || MODERN QUILTED COASTER SEWING TUTORIAL

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Modern Quilted Coasters Tutorial ||| VeryShannon.com #coaster #quilted #sewing #tutorial
Quilted Coasters Tutorial ||| VeryShannon.com #coaster #quilted #sewing #tutorial

One of my favorite go-to handmade gifts are coasters. Everyone loves a pretty coaster. 

I think they can brighten up a table or a room and bring a smile to your face when reaching for your drink. And when you think how many times a day we use a coaster and pick up and put down a drink that equates to a lot of smiles. The more people smile, the more the world is a happier place. Smiling is healthy and feels good. Just like sewing.

Quilted Coasters Tutorial ||| VeryShannon.com #coaster #quilted #sewing #tutorial
Quilted Coasters Tutorial ||| VeryShannon.com #coaster #quilted #sewing #tutorial

The best thing about making handmade coasters is the freedom. It’s a no pressure, no stress kind of project that is great for using scraps and bits of your favorite leftovers from your stash! You can’t go wrong with that! You can practice new techniques or perfect old ones, try out a new stitch on your machine, or go bold/simple playing with solids!

Quilted Coasters Tutorial ||| VeryShannon.com #coaster #quilted #sewing #tutorial

Been scared to start quilting but dying to try? This is a great way to jump in and get your toes wet! Whichever way you choose to make them it’s up to you! So whip up the coaster tutorials below as is or use them as a jumping off point to add your own flair and personality! Just remember to smile and have fun with them!

KNITTING || IT'S TIME FOR STASH MAINTENANCE!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Nice and Knit DK Yarn || VeryShannon.com
Nice and Knit DK Yarn || VeryShannon.com
Nice and Knit DK Yarn || VeryShannon.com
Nice and Knit DK in colorways (left to right) Harpoon, Oyster, Lobster Pot, Dockside. Blue shown in middle pic is Canal.
It's a new year and it's time to update & organize our online stashes ladies!

Every start of a new year I try to go through my stash, clean it up and properly record everything on Ravelry. I try really hard each year to be pretty minimal with my stash. I usually only purchase new yarn and fabric when I have certain projects & new designs already allotted for them. I don't have a lot of space to store my yarn and fabric so being minimal is key. I also tend to get overwhelmed if it gets too large and sometimes finding myself forgetting about skeins I previously adored. It also helps keep my budget for yarn/fabric buying down too.

I was photographing some of my newest babies to add to my Ravelry stash and thought it would be fun to document them on the blog too. The yarns are so pretty that I couldn't just keep the pics in my boring ol'stash on ravelry. Plus I figured it would be a fun way to get you all to update yours as well and do some serious stash maintenance. That and I love seeing what yarn you guys have added to your stashes lately too! It's a great way to get inspired and also find new yarns to try.

The latest lovelies I've added to my stash are the gorgeous skeins from Nice and Knit (all DK) shown above, Hazel Knits new Worsted weight Cadence shown in colorway Laguna which is also scrumptious. Then my newest obsession is Woolfolk. Words cannot describe this gorgeous squishy yarn! I've been obsessing over it for a while and finally treated myself to some. I have not regretted it. It's amazing. I picked up some FAR in colorways 2, 5 & 9 and some Tynd in colorway 9. Can we say DROOL! I also have been preciously hoarding some of the fab Julie Asselin Leizu DK (she's Canadian!) in colorways Cove and Coraline.

It feels good to get organized and start fresh for the new year! I spent a lot of time cleaning and organizing my office and it's getting there. I hope to share some pics in the next few weeks...finally :) I think I've been promising to show my workspace for 4+ years..lol. Now that I have a "room" for my work I hope to be able to show progress shots as I slowly make it my own. I also plan on going through my WIP's and either finishing or frogging them. Some projects I've had sitting for 3 years! EEEK! It's time to cleanse the palette. Anyone else need to take care of their WIP's? This is a great time to do it! Sit down, photograph and document your stash on Ravelry and then clean up your projects too! You won't regret it!

Here's some pics of my latest yarn crushes. Make sure to comment below what yarns you're crushing on and have recently added to your stash! I love hearing about it!

Woolfolk Yarn  || VeryShannon.com

SEWING & KNITTING || PATTERNS & TUTORIALS OF 2014

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Schwimmen Hat Pattern from Shannon Cook of VeryShannon.com #schwimmen #seasonlessknits
SCHWIMMEN - SEASONLESS || Mini Collection Volume One
I love the start of a new year. I always feel inspired to set new goals and take a look at the past year.

Life gets busy and sometimes we miss things on the blogs we read. So here's a quick run down of all the goodies we released in 2014 both FREE & paid and both for sewing & knitting! I hope you enjoy them and feel inspired to make one (or a few)! I couldn't continue to live my dream if it wasn't for all of your endless support so thank you to all of you from the bottom of my heart! xoxox

/// FREE PATTERNS & TUTORIALS - SEWING

FREE Reversible Box Tote Pattern from VeryShannon.com #RBTote #free #sewing #pattern
FREE Brigitte Needles & Notions Zippered Pouch Tutorial from VeryShannon.com  #free #sewing #pattern

CREATIVITY || GILMORE GIRLS FREE COFFEE QUOTE PRINTABLE

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Free Gilmore Girls Coffee Quote Printable on VeryShannon.com! #gilmoregirls #coffee #printable #free
Free Gilmore Girls Coffee Quote Printable on VeryShannon.com! #gilmoregirls #coffee #printable #free

I love coffee and I love Gilmore Girls.

Put the two together and you have one of my favorite quotes. This is one is me in a nutshell. I need coffee to survive. Seriously. I just don't function without coffee. You all know I've been loving watching Gilmore Girls all over again now that it's on Netflix here in Canada and I've been binge watching for weeks. I have to confess it has upped my caffeine intake. Seeing them talk about coffee, drink coffee and talk about coffee more just makes me want more coffee.

Since we moved into our first house this past summer I've been slowly curating things for my new office. Once I heard Lorelai speak these lines (Season 4, Episode 20) I knew I needed it in a printable form so I could hang that bad boy up in my office. It makes me smile. I thought you all may like it too. So I've created a free printable for you (yay!) to sport too! Download your free copy at the bottom of the post.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Handmade Knitting Ornament || VeryShannon.com

Wishing you all a wonderful and happy holiday season!

After our little family has spent weeks being under the weather we are so happy to finally be on the  mend over here just in time for the holidays! I can't even begin to tell you how much I'm looking forward to our first christmas in our first house! I think I'm even more excited than the kids. I doubt I will sleep on xmas eve! I can't wait!!! It's going to be such a special season for us and for the kiddos.

I plan on relaxing. Yep, that's the key word this holiday - relaxing. And downtime. Lots of laughs, good food, lots of coffee, cuddles, snuggles, games, family time and knitting/sewing. And as always I will be taking some time off to relish in this special time of year. After a very busy year I can't wait.

I look forward to seeing you all in the new year. Until then, warm wishes for the holidays and a joyful new year!  Thank you for all your love and support this year! You all mean so much to me! Merry Christmas!

P.s. Adorably awesome handmade knitting ornaments are made by my lovely friend Arika and are available at the Beehive Wool Shop (if they are left) in Victoria, BC. If you're interested in purchasing one and can't find them send an email my way and I'll get you in touch with Arika.

READING || BOOKS ON THE TABLE

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Books on the Table || Book Reviews of Make it Mighty Ugly, Graphic Knits, Mollie Makes Embroidery and Sockupied on VeryShannon.com.
Books on the Table || Book Reviews of Make it Mighty Ugly, Graphic Knits, Mollie Makes Embroidery and Sockupied on VeryShannon.com.

It's been a while since we've done a Books on the Table and I thought it was the perfect time to do another one! 

You all know how much of a book lover I am. Sometimes I have way too many fab books to chat about to give them each their own post. When that happens I put together our fun "Books on the Table" post. I've always got new (and old) books everywhere around the house. They are in the dining room, the living room, my bedroom...all over my office...in my purse...they are everywhere. I love reading and relish in sharing books that I am enjoying. I worked for years in book stores and sometimes miss being surrounded by books that fill me with endless possibilities.

Right now, on my table I've got a lovely mix of creative titles! Creativity, embroidery, knitting and socks! Sounds fun right? You bet! Keep reading below and I'll give you the inside scoop on each title. These are all great gift books for that creative maker in your life too! Or, if you're like me, they make lovely "treat yourself" pressies too! One can never have too many fabulous books!

Books on the Table || Book Reviews of Make it Mighty Ugly, Graphic Knits, Mollie Makes Embroidery and Sockupied on VeryShannon.com.

Read below then let me know what books are on your table in the comments! I love hearing what other people are reading too!

GIVEAWAY || $75 FAT QUARTER SHOP FABRIC GIVEAWAY!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Fat Quarter Shop Fabric Giveaway on VeryShannon.com! Fabric from Follie by Lotta Jansdotter from Windham Fabrics #follie
Follie by Lotta Jansdotter, Image Credit: Windham Fabrics
Who's in the mood to win $75 worth of fabric for Christmas? 

We're all still under the weather at my house so I figured what better way to cheer myself up than to giveaway a $75 Gift Certificate to the amazing Fat Quarter Shop! Wahoo! Fat Quarter Shop is your go to online fabric shop! They are my favorite place to get charm packs, fat quarter bundles and all my fave prints! Plus have you seen their YouTube channel lately? So many awesome videos to learn and get inspired by as well! If you haven't been to Fat Quarter Shop yet go visit! You're sure to find a few things you'll be adding to your xmas wish list!

Here's a few of the fabrics I'm coveting! 

Fat Quarter Shop Fabric Giveaway on VeryShannon.com!

You ready to win some new lovlies to get kick off your sewing for 2015! Simply enter using the Rafflecopter entry below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and happy sewing! Winner will be announced next week!

KNITTING || CHRISTMAS KNITTING PLAYLIST

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Knitting Playlist || VeryShannon.com #music #christmas #knitting

I'm so excited that you guys have been enjoying our Knitting Playlist on Spotify! It's been so fun to keep adding to it and I listen to it all the time.

And by popular request we now have a Very Shannon Christmas Knitting Playlist! You asked - so I answered! Go pour some coffee or hot chocolate, curl up under your fave blanket, light up that tree and get knitting to some of our favorite mood setting Christmas tunes!!!


And if you're not in the mood for xmas music don't worry - you can still follow our regular Knitting Playlist anytime! You can find it by clicking below:

Knitting Music  Playlist || VeryShannon.com #music #knitting

Have you been enjoying our playlists? What Christmas songs are your faves? Any you would like to see added? Happy weekend everyone!

SEWING || LINDEN SWEATSHIRT

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Linden Sweatshirt Pattern Review || VeryShannon.com #linden #sweatshirt

Everyone needs their own cozy, warm, snuggly, fave go to sweatshirt. I just made my new fave.

Have you seen the Linden Sweatshirt pattern by Grainline yet? As soon as the talented Jen released it I grabbed a copy. I then set out on a mission to find some seriously cozy sweater knit fabric. Not an easy feat where I live. I managed to luck out and get some at one of our local fabric shops - The Cloth Castle. Bonus - there was a sale! Woot woot! I grabbed this super thick, warm and soft fabric for Linden as well as a thinner one (that I'll show ya later) to whip up another one in. The color of this fabric is so perfectly neutral. It's like that shade of Cascade 220 that you make a gazillion and one things out of. It's grey, but beige too and pretty much goes with everything.

Linden Sweatshirt Pattern Review || VeryShannon.com #linden #sweatshirt

Linden is a sweatshirt that is meant to be lived in. I wear this bad boy around the house, out of the house, in bed - you name it - I've now worn it. In fact I've had this made for a few weeks but haven't been able to photograph it because it's always being worn. Blogger problems right? lol! It's just one of those cuts that is flattering. Aka - skims over the roly bits. I love the raglan cut for this type of sweatshirt and I really like the ease of it. Grainline's patterns are stylish and modern and easy to follow. The instructions are clear and concise and this took me no time at all to sew up. I used my serger for pretty much everything and that speeds things up tons.

Linden Sweatshirt Pattern Review || VeryShannon.com #linden #sweatshirt
Linden Sweatshirt Pattern Review || VeryShannon.com #linden #sweatshirt

My Linden Sweatshirt has come in so handy lately what with snow and tons of rain around here. Due to the horrid weather we've been having lately you get my tree lit photographs. That's what happens when you have absolutely no natural light and you gotta work with what you got :) I really wanted to blog about this sweater so you get another photoshoot of me in my "real life" element. My fave leggings, wooly socks, my go to mug & basket (from Tolt Yarn & Wool of course). I like to keep it real around here every so often. Bloggers are real people and sometimes, life just doesn't go along with our lighting and photography demands. So you work with what ya got.

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