Thursday, February 19, 2015

Traveling with my Yoga Mat

Two more sleeps until I fly out to O'ahu for a week of sunshine and the Wanderlust Yoga Fest!

Tonight I began packing, and began fretting over this dilemma.

Which yoga mat to bring with me?

The Mat or the UnMat?

So let's do a Pros and Cons

The Mat

-This is the mat I practice on in led classes at the studio.
-Nice and thick, good cushioning for practice.
-Nice and think, can sleep on top of it in my tent.

-Big and heavy
-Would probably have to check it in its own bag (doesn't fit inside my suitcase) ($cost!)

The UnMat

-Light weight, travels easy
-I've carried it on with my travel back pack, no check baggage cost
-I have a yoga towel which can add some extra padding with it
-I practice on this mat regularly at home

-Home practice space is carpeted so thinness of mat is not an issue
-Mat is very thin, not sure about practicing on it 3 times a day on hard/solid surfaces
-Not going to do much as far as padding in the tent

So now I need your help, weigh in on the poll below... let me know which mat I should bring.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Art Battle 219 - Calgary

Last week, my friend Sarah (@setulk) and I went out to watch some live competitive painting at The Hifi Club here in Calgary, and it was amazing. That's right this was like sport painting, under the name Art Battle. If you've never been to one before, check out their website, there may be one in your area.

In the mean time, let me tell you all about it!

The format, 12 local artists compete to be the winner of the evening. There are 2, 20 minute semifinal rounds (6 painters each), followed by the championship round, pitting the top two artists from each of the first two rounds against each other. Who decides the winner? the audience live votes using their smart phones for their favourites at the end of each round. In addition all of the art produced is for sale via silent auction.

All artists get the same materials, the same canvas, and the same primary colours of acrylic paint. They are all welcome to bring whatever tools the need to create their masterpieces.

It was pretty amazing to walk around the painters during the 20 minute rounds, and watch as their canvases came to life with each lap around the easels.

What truly amazed me the most however, was how 12 people, with the exact same paints could create works that looked so unique. Not only in subject matter but also in technique. Had you not known, you never would have guessed all of the canvases were created with the same materials. And certainly not in 20 minutes flat!

Here's a few of the other works created last night.

Apparently the next Art Battle Calgary is confirmed for March 11th, and I can't wait to go again! In the mean time, I went home last night itching to do some painting myself. So today I picked up a pair of canvases for the weekend!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Learning to use Photoshop CC and InDesign CC

OK, I'm feeling super proud of myself today! Kind of like a computer ninja! Probably unduly, but whatever.

Today I took my first steps towards learning how to do graphic design in Photoshop and InDesign.

What I needed was a logo for my new yarn blog, and I kind of knew I wanted it to feature a flask full of knitting needles and crochet hooks. So step one, I sketched out on paper what I wanted and scanned it into photoshop.

Then, using the help of this video, and the pen tool, I began create lines in a separate layer.

Despite being from an older version of photoshop, this video tutorial was simple enough to pick things up quickly.

Next I did some colouring and shading, again all in separate layers so I could control the opacity.

And speaking of colouring, I chose my colour pallet using this photo and's Color Palette Generator. I also used the eyedropper tool in photoshop to add in the blue grey colour from the sweater.

Finally, I merged the layers I wanted, and added in the font for the word Lab. I had my final logo, which is now live on .

Then I headed over into InDesign to use the new logo and colour pallet to create a pdf for a knitting pattern I'd been working on.

The pattern for the hat is now available for free download on

Overall, it was a productive day for me and the internet!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Book Review: Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Last night I stayed up late to finish reading Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and I just have to say, it was fantastic.

I haven't been doing as much reading as usual this past month, but since I picked up Ayaan's memoir, I really haven't been able to put it down. The book details her life growing up in Somalia, escaping with her family to Kenya, and escaping an imposed marriage to Holland, where she gained refugee status, put herself through university, worked as a translator for other Somali refugees and eventually ran for Parliament, winning a seat and advocating for Muslim women's rights, by controversially promoting integration, closure of Quran Schools and challenging Muslims to question Islam.

While there is much to be learned in this book about the development of the current situation in Somalia, the persecution and abuse of women in many Muslim countries, their subsequent continued denial of rights even upon immigration to Western countries, and Islam in general; there is a second story in Ayaan's memoir that I found equally fascinating.

Through the book and her life, the reader has a front row seat on her mind and beliefs as she changes from a devout and proud Muslim to an 'apostate', 'infidel', unbeliever. You get to see the cracks in her belief form while she is still in Africa, and spring wide open when she studies psychology and political science in Holland. The reader is able to share in her journey from unquestioning submission to questioning, reason and embracing life to the fullest.

I highly recommend her book, to readers of all faiths and belief systems. I suggest you read it with an open mind and an open heart, as well as with the hunger to learn more about the way of life of people so different from your own that carried Ayaan through her own life.

I plan to follow up by reading Ayaan's other two books: Nomad and The Caged Virgin.

Have you read any of Ayaan's books? What book are you reading right now? Let me know in the comments.

Weekend Recap: Knit one, Single Crochet Two

I had a list of blog posts I wanted to write this weekend.

Instead I spent all my spare time with yarn. Here's a recap.

Friday night - Kevin and I went to see the Imitation Game. Amazing!!! I cried like a baby! Everyone should go see this movie, it's even better if you don't know anything about Alan Turing.

Afterwards I began knitting the sleeve for my sweater, which so far is just a front and back.

Saturday: I yoga'd up a storm in the AM. You know how in classes they give you the option to skip some of the vinyasa's in between sides and postures? I skipped none of them this weekend and really worked to stay controlled through my chaturangas. As a result, my arms were fried by the end of class, and sore all day Sunday.

So when I got home, I just curled up under a blanket to knit, and finished off the sleeve, pinned it out and blocked it.

Saturday night Kevin came over and I cooked us chicken stir-fry for dinner.

Afterwards we both went to bed early, because we're super cool and had to work in the morning.

Sunday I was up early to go to work and then visited my friends Gabriela and Andrew, and their awesome baby boy Thomas (who is now my best friend BTW). We spent the morning together, and went for a walk in the afternoon. I can't believe how big he's getting. He's the recipient of the crocheted baby blanket I made before he was born this summer.

Sunday evening I stayed close to home, did yoga in my living room and got started on a crocheted Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy, while watching Beyond the Edge (a docudrama about the first summit of Everest) on Netflix.

I got as far as his torso. In the mean time, I shared a pattern that I knit up using the same yarn for my cousin's little girl Penelope for Christmas this year.

Full details are on But I made her the fox dress and the bunny! In other news I really have to get to work at actually designing that website.

Amazing links from this weekend:

-Buzzfeed - Easy and Inexpensive Nutella Desserts - especially the grilled nutella and marshmallow sandwich.
-Ravelry - Heidi Bears Pattern Shop - all of her patterns, I bought the hippo!
-YouTube - CGP Grey The Lord of the Rings Mythology Explained Part 1 and Part 2.
-Yoga -Tony F Photography - One of my highschool friends, Tony, has made a real name for himself as a yoga photographer, please check out some of his beautiful pictures.

That's all for now, how was your weekend?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Weekend Recap: HTML 500 and Red Deer

It was a pretty busy weekend guys.

Friday night I was super cool and stayed in to finish Kevin's super secret crocheted Valentine's day present. Here's a sneak peak:

Saturday morning I was up bright and early to run into the lab for an hour before heading to the Red and White Club at McMahon Stadium. I was there to participate in Lighthouse Labs' HTML500, a free event aimed at teaching basic HTML and CSS to 2000 people across Canada (500 in each of Vancouver, Calgary, London and Toronto). It was a full day event, and a packed house, over 900 people registered to try and get one of the 500 spots.

If you follow me on twitter (@turner_sr) you'll already know I had a great time and was able to build a pretty neat webpage in just one afternoon, with the help our table's three lovely mentors below.

Learning code was pretty neat, and I think I might be hooked, I rushed out to grab a learn html and css text book to get started for real at home. I also bought a new domain name ( and a small hosting package to see what I can do. I'll keep you posted on my progress here, but you can follow along as I work though the book one chapter at a time here, or see the page I made at HTML500 here.

Afterwards I hung out at Kevin's, did some serious crocheting on a project from my camp site at Wanderlust O'ahu. Saturday night we went to watch the Anderson Silva fight (it was terrible.... he's going to get killed in the subsequent title match unless he really picks things up) at Jamesons.... where I was so excited to have a margarita only to have 2 brought to me that clearly had no tequila in them. Or alternatively that had the smoothest, least alcoholic tequila ever in them.

Sunday morning we woke up bright and early to drive to Red Deer for Kevin's last CaRMs interview. Well it was early but certainly not bright.

Well Kevin interviewed I met up with Becky (the Bex Factor) to pepper her with questions about living in Red Deer, chat about blogging, and tell stories about pet bunny rabbits. Becky was an awesome hostess and took me to her favourite Sunday Brunch spot, Heritage Ranch.

The food was plentiful and amazeballs, the restaurant was cozy and rustic, and the park its in was beautiful under a fresh blanket of snow. Definitely a perk of the city.

After heading back to Calgary however I began to feel a bit under the weather, so I stayed in for the afternoon/evening to watch the Superbowl (crazy finish eh!). During the game I worked through a short coding exercise, and did a slow an easy flow of yoga. Afterwards, I sewed in all the ends and finished my crochet project.

I'm going to save it until Wanderlust to share the finished product, but I'll just say now, I'm super excited about it.

Well that was my weekend, a great combination of fun, learning, friends, and exhaustion. How was yours?

Oh and as a quick end note, Becky mentioned that I never post any pictures of Kevin on my blog, so here's the two of us at the Aquarium in Toronto over the holidays.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Valentines Day DIY Round Up

Ooof! It's February 1st already. Which means Valentines day is right around the corner. I'm already done a couple of crochet'd V-day projects which are featured over at, but I thought I'd share with you a V-Day DIY Round Up, of projects I wish I had time for in the next 2 weeks. (Maybe I'll get one or two of them done).

First off, here are 5 knit or crochet projects I'm dying to do.

  1. Crochet chocolate kiss.
  2. Anatomical knitted heart (I've actually made this once before).
  3. Crochet conversation heart pillow.
  4. Hanging mobile of stuffed crocheted hearts.
  5. Love Shack record crocheted floor cushion.

  6. Conversation Hearts Topiary.
  7. Love Bug Cake Ball (I thought it was a pom pom at first, nope it's cake!)
  8. Ruffled felt heart wreath.
  9. Chocolate dipped, marshmallow filled strawberry hearts.
  10. 52 things I love about your deck of cards.
Interested in seeing what I made for Kevin last year for Valentine's Day? Click on over to see my little love squirrel.