Uncategorized

Week 15 – Granny squares 1-15 and thinking about Christmas makes!! sorry ;)

Looking around for things that inspire me this week has been a challenge. The weather has been glorious here for a few weeks now, this has led to very little in the way of productiveness!! I’m sure I am not the only one.

What I have decided to do, Β is start thinking about Christmas makes. I know it’s July but I want to make at least one big blanket for a gift this year and they take me months to make. I also really want to make these adorable advent Christmas stockings. I saw them last year but it was already December, too late 😦

They are a teensy bit fiddly to make but so very worth it. Do have a look online, there are lots of different ones to make and plenty of helpful tutorials. The yarn I have used is as ever is my go to favourite of Stylecraft Special DK. This project is the perfect stash buster for those oddments of yarn that are too big to throw away but too small to make anything useful.

YAY – Found a great blog, jensalittleloopy.com that has a handy selection of crochet advent items to inspire you.

I have made 15 granny squares for the granny a week blanket, I have also put them somewhere safe while hubby and I have done a little furniture rearranging around the house. Funnily enough, I can’t find them to take a picture of them, let alone make anything from them!! You’ll have to trust me πŸ˜‰ Whilst looking for the squares I did find the chocolate peanuts I bought for the other half as well as three pieces of turkish delight πŸ™‚ all is not lost πŸ˜‰

On an absolutely not crochet related or baking related note, I saw these adorable cacti in Urban outfitters. Loooooooove them.

Finally, in anticipation of teaching a small class of new crocheters tomorrow, here is the first thing I ever made. Not quite as the pattern was written but I was delighted with him. He is still very much loved by my niece and is known as Javere Bear πŸ™‚

IMG_8949

 

So all in all, not quite the blog post I had intended πŸ™‚
Enjoy,

Lx

 

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2018/19 The big project thing, Baby Crochet, Crochet, Family, Uncategorized

Week 14 – crochet cord tie

Well, I missed blogging last week due to our computer throwing a tantrum and refusing to do anything useful. Even shutting it down proved tricky.

Anyway, hubby spent some time putting it in recovery mode and hey presto, we are back in business.

This teeny tiny crochet project came about as a request from a friend who was expecting. “Please can you make me a crochet cord tie” , she said . Errrrrrrr, not sure, let me look into that!!!! Β On googling it appears that crochet cord ties are a thing for those who would like to tie babies cord with something other than a plastic clip. Looks much softer for little ones.

She sent me a picture of the sort of thing she would like. Looks straightforward enough to make but what should I use to make it and how can we make sure it is clean for baby. Β Decided cotton would work well and the Mummy to be took charge making sure it was washed and then popped in the freezer to keep it sterile till the big day.

Looking online for ideas on how to make these, the basic idea is two small crochet motifs, one on each end of a crochet cord that is around 30cm in length. I found a few articles online to help me make this item and gave the new Mum to be strict instructions on how to use it as well as the recommendation that they check with their midwife too.

Have look at this one on Simply Crochet.

Beautiful Tribe have an article on how they approached this.

Etsy have loads for sale but if you are even a beginner crocheter, this is really straightforward to make.

The motif we went for was a heart. Attic 24 have a lovely pattern for teeny tiny hearts that were the size for my cotton yarn and a 4mm hook. The hearts were about 4cm across and the tie measure in at 30cm.

It took me all of about 15 minutes to make this including the faffing about trying to find a tape measure!

Enjoy,

L πŸ™‚

 

2018/19 The big project thing, Dinners, Uncategorized

Week 10 – curry time again. Palak Paneer and Spinach Curry without Paneer!!!

I wanted this weekly project initially to have the focus on a bake and/or a make. I have decided to broaden this a bit. The idea was originally to be inspired by something and Β so this week I was inspired by dinner!!

We have, like many others tried the recipe boxes that are everywhere all of a sudden. Gousto was the first one we tried and although we didn’t stick with them, I did adopt a few of their recipes into our regular menu.

The first time I made this, I of course followed the recipe to a T. Since then I have tweaked a bit (but only the tiniest bit, promise) Instead of paneer, I have started using halloumi. It’s just that bit nommier πŸ™‚

Ingredients: (serves 2 but you can bulk it out for 3 with maybe a bit more rice, side dishes, poppadoms and mango chutney or simply double for 4)

  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 red chilli (I have substituted dried chilli here if you don’t have fresh to hand, use around 1/2 tsp or more depending on how hot you would like it)
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 6 cardomom pods
  • 250g paneer cheese (as mentioned I substitute halloumi as I prefer it and have also reduced the amount by half before to reduce calories without impacting the flavour significantly, your call!)
  • 150g baby leaf spinach
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 20g fried onions
  • 130g basmati rice

Method;

  • Crush the cardamom pods with side of a knife or a spoon.
  • Place the basmati rice and the cardamom pods, a pinch of salt and 300 ml cold water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil. Once boiling turn it down low, pop a lid on and gently cook for 10-15 minutes. Do keep an eye on this as you want to turn the heat off once it’s absorbed all the water and is cooked. Leave the lid on and leave your rice to one side in the hot pan until you are ready to serve. It stays piping hot for a good while (10 + minutes easily).
  • Meanwhile, peel and dice your onion, chop your chilli finely, chop up your tomato and pop a kettle on to boil.
  • Chop your paneer (or whatever cheese you desire, if you use a vegan cheese here, this dish is perfect for vegans and veggies alike. Violife have one, not tried it myself but worth a shot for this yummy curry) Heat a non stick frying pan and heat up a drizzle of veg oil. Once hot, add your cheese and fry on both sides till golden brown. Once browned , transfer it to a plate, season if desired and set aside for later.
  • Get your pan back on the heat, add a little more oil if you need and then fry your onions till soft. Then add your chopped tomato, garam masala and 3/4 of your chilli (you can tweak this to suit, the dish is really flavourful and can cope with being less heated πŸ™‚ ) Cook for around a minute to release the fragrant spices.
  • Meanwhile, pop your spinach in a colander, stick it in the sink and pour over your boiled water. It will wilt. Rinse with cold water till cool and then squeeze out the water. Grab your wet squished spinach, chop it up roughly.
  • Re boil a kettle
  • To your curry, now add the tomato paste and spinach and cook for a minute or so.
  • To 250ml of boiled water, dissolve your stock cube and then add this to your curry. Cook for around three minutes till it thickens up a bit.
  • Then add your cheese and just warm it through for another minute or so.
  • Serve with your rice and garnish with the fried onions. You can add more chillis too if you want to really spice things up.

I know this looks like a lot of steps. I must admit the first time I made this it felt like a bit of a faff but once I realised that the rice can be pretty much be left once it is cooked, I was then free to concentrate on the curry which in real time takes only about 10 minutes or so to cook, Β if you have everything chopped and ready to go. For someone who used to avoid curries because of the overuse of heat and coriander, this recipe has become a bit of a favourite.

Enjoy,

Lx

P.S Its not a pretty curry but then which curries are!!

2018/19 The big project thing, Christmas, Crochet, Uncategorized

Week 8 – Super speedy mobile phone crochet cover.

Week 8 already.

Looking around for simple and speedy patterns led me to a budget bookshop. The Works. This shop is very hit and miss but what they seem to do really well is art supplies and craft books. Super cheap too.

Always good to have a handy supply of books for my crochet group to peruse. You can of course go online for a myriad of free patterns, but there is something pleasing about thumbing your way through a book πŸ™‚

Anyway, the book I picked up for the grand sum of Β£4 is entitled 30 minute crochet. Guess what it contains!

Some of the patterns are definitely not my cup of tea. That said, this book is perfect for the beginner or someone who is perhaps looking for something speedy that they can whip up in no time.

I spotted the mobile phone cover, a really simple pattern that uses dc (UK)or sc (US) throughout. For obvious reasons I can’t simply give you the pattern here. Do buy the book or have a look online, there are loads to be inspired by. See below for a couple of links to other patterns.

Crochet Crowd mobile phone cover patterns

You Tube video tutorialΒ 

The only part of these mobile phone covers that I can claim as my own is the button, although I’m sure that it was a pattern from somewhere at some point!

I simply started with a magic ring and then crocheted 6sc into the ring. Join with a slip stitch, loosely pull your circle together (not too tight, you want to be able to work into the hole for a few more stitches) then chain up one and then working into your centre hole, sc for as many times as you like to get the desired effect, the more times you go round the bigger the button. Pull tight to close your hole and weave in your ends. Attach to your cover.

If you search for crochet button pattern, you will find loads. Sheru knitting, see link below has a really nice one that I think was the one that I was inspired by. Her site has fabulous things to make, I could spend hours looking at her tutorials. Beautiful.

Sheru Knitting

Hope you like these. All in all, I spent a couple of hours (not quite the promised 30 minutes, but close enough!) making both of these covers and the granny square was inspired by the orange one.

Enjoy,

Lx

 

2018/19 The big project thing, Family, Uncategorized

Week 7 – Crochet moses basket blanket and converse style baby booties :)

As ever, another one of my friends is expecting. This time though we don’t know what the sex of the baby so I am doing something a little more neutral. The friend has already decorated the nursery in shades of white and grey so I have taken that as inspiration. Not my usual colour palette but very soothing.

A different yarn choice too for me. This time I have bought grey and white style craft bambino supersoft DK yarn. It s a little more expensive than special DK but you can really feel the difference. Lovely to work with.

As the little one is due in June I decided to do something a little more lightweight and in a size that would work with a moses basket or car seat.

The pattern I chose was inspired by this fabulous modern heirloom crochet blanket by Mama In a Stitch. Check out her blog, its glorious. Full of free patterns and inspiration πŸ™‚

I tweaked it slightly as I was making a smaller version but the pattern really lends itself to a bit of personalisation. The basic pattern is simple moss stitch with colour changes as you like. Depending on how big you wish to go and how fast you crochet, this could be worked up over a weekend really easily. In a chunky variegated yarn, I should think you could have the first of many Christmas presents ready to go!!!

Anyway, as I had a small amount of yarn left, I decided that a pair of booties were in order. Made a pair of my reliable crochet converse booties. Love it in the soft grey. Will suit a boy or a girl, lets face it, the baby doesn’t mind what colour it is as long as its squishy soft πŸ™‚ The pattern for these was a paid for pattern found on Etsy by Choosy Stuff. The pattern is really well written, great value and includes a box you can print out for the shoes if you desire. For Β£4.20, this is really good value. For this baby, I haven’t added the black detailing as I thought it would be a little harsh with the soft grey yarn.

I love how the pictures turned out. The grey and white gives it a really vintage feel πŸ™‚

The granny square that I have done this week was inspired by my scrap basket because I have a lovely shade of teal in it!!

Enjoy,

Lx

2018/19 The big project thing, Crochet, Family, Uncategorized

Week 5 – super speedy and easy, crocheted bag for a child

Week 5.

I can’t quite believe how quickly the time is flying by. My grown up children are too fond of mocking me when I say “where has the time gone?” But seriously, where has the time gone?

My youngest and I planned this year long blog challenge 5 weeks ago, which means that it is 5 weeks since I have seen her 😦 Luckily she will be home soon for Eurovision weekend. So excited, we do love a bit of Eurovision. Will have to think of something to bake or make that will suit the Eurovision theme for that week (ideas on a postcard please…..!)

Anyway, I digress. This week I made a little bag for a child. Very, very simple pattern. Two crocheted granny squares and a dc (uk) sc (usa) handle.

I was on the hunt for a pattern for a granny square bag suitable for a child. There are loads online. In the end the one I made was very similar to this one by Wooly wonders Crochet. The difference being that I chose to crochet my pieces together and I created a handle by doing a row of 4 dc/sc on one edge (two stitches each side of where the pieces were stitched together) and the crocheted up until it was the desired length. Then simply crochet this to the other side. All in all, I spent around an hour on this in front of Β an episode of Jane the Virgin. Oh what a perfect evening that was πŸ™‚

I think I may well be adding a lining to this little bag as the granny square does have holes in it. If you made it with a denser stitch though, you may be able to avoid this. I love how this little bag turned out and will be posting it off to my niece as soon as I have lined it.

Finally I have also crocheted two more granny squares for the granny square a week project. I am not really getting to grips with this doing a thing every week. I really am not the most organised, although I got there in the end, so good enough I say. Colours inspired by the little bag and a bigger bag I also made this week.

The bigger bag doesn’t really fit the brief for this project as it took me a couple of weeks to get it done!! The tutorial for this mermaid tears purse can be found on youtube. It’s by The Crochet Crowd and is really straightforward to follow. Do go to their website for loads of brill ideas.

Enjoy,

Lx

2018/19 The big project thing, Baking, Cake, Uncategorized

Week 4 – The lemon drizzle cake

Week 4, time to bake.

I have posted a recipe for a lemon drizzle cake before but I believe that this may be the “one”.

Every time I bake a lemon drizzle I have a problem with it. Under baked is my usual issue but struggle to avoid this without burning the edges and top to a cinder. Anyway my previous post for a Nigella lemon drizzle can be found here, you can see from the pictures that it was definitely on the scorched side. It did taste ok but it wasn’t great.

This recipe can be found in the first Bake off book. This is the book that also gave me the best chewy ginger cookie recipe, click here for that one.

This lemon drizzle recipe calls for the all in one method. It’s not a method I have used really but it truly is about as easy a cake to mix as you can get. As long as you have some sort of electric mixer device πŸ™‚

Ingredients:

  • For the cake mixture
  • 200g unsalted butter, very very soft
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs, beaten at room temp
  • finely grated zest of 2 medium unwaxed lemons
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 100ml room temp milk ( I substituted butter milk as my preference for cakes)
  • for the topping
  • 100g caster sugar (I substituted icing sugar, works fine)
  • juice of 2 medium unwaxed lemons
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon

A 20cm Springform deep round cake tin, greased and lined with greaseproof paper

Method:

  • Love, love, love this method. Do make sure your butter is super soft and your flour is sifted.
  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees c
  • Simply put all the ingredients in a bowl and using either a food mixer or hand electric mixer. Blitz till it resembles cake mix.
  • Dollop your batter into the tin, lightly smooth into the edges, and bake till golden and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Recipe calls for 50-60 mins.
  • Your oven may mean you need slightly more or slightly less πŸ™‚ start checking after 35 mins πŸ™‚ My oven is definitely on the feisty side and so I probably could have taken my cake out 5 minutes before I did. She’s a little darker than I would have liked but no matter. This cake is all about flavour not looks πŸ™‚
  • Meanwhile take your lemon syrup ingredients, pop them into a small saucepan and then heat together to create syrup.
  • Once you have your cake out of the oven. Leaving it in the tin. Poke holes all over it using a skewer/cocktail stick or whatever you have to hand. I did this once with a cork screw with some (not total) success.
  • Drizzle your syrup over the cake and encourage it to go into the holes. I tend to spoon it on so that I can do this.
  • Resist the temptation to take the cake out of the tin. You need to let it cool in the tin, while it soaks up the syrup.
  • Make a cup of tea. Take your cake out of it’s tin, place on a plate, cut a large slice.
  • Patience rewarded. Om nom nom

It’s really not a very pretty cake, but it is super yummy πŸ™‚ as you can tell from the crumb covered plate at the back there!!!

Enjoy,

Lx

 

2018/19 The big project thing, Crochet, Uncategorized

Week 3 – Weekend Project – Duckie Lovey

Oh my, imagine my delight when I found this pattern online. The sort of springlike weather inspired me to look for a duck to make for a teeny project. Stumbled across this fab website called The Little Yellow Duck Project. Utterly delightful and charming projects all created to inspire people from around the world to make little ducks to leave for others to find. All to raise awareness for blood, bone marrow and organ donation.

The Just Duckie Lovey is adorable. I had to tweak the ripple slightly as I couldn’t get my lovey to lay flat. I went to Attic24 for her ripple stitch and used that to make the base for my lovey.

The duck pattern was a treat to follow though. Really straightforward to use. I used Style Craft Special DK in duck egg and petrol for the lovey and lemon and sunshine for the duck πŸ™‚

This little guy makes my heart smile every time I look at him.

In other crochet related news! I have made two more squares for the square a week project. Those eagle eyed amongst you will note that I neglected to post this last week (I had made it though, so it counts)

We now have a lemon square, inspired by the arrival of April and more hopeful weather and a sunshine yellow square inspired by my ducks beak!!!

 

 

Really happy with how this project is shaping up.

Looking forward to next week. A cake addition to the project I think. Inspired by the lemonyness of this weeks yarn!!

Enjoy,

Lx

 

2018/19 The big project thing, Crochet, Uncategorized

Week Two – weekend project. The Penguin

I had a request from a dear friend who wanted a penguin to gift to her brother for his 40th birthday!!. After looking around online (there are loads of penguin amigurumi)

We decided that this was the one for us. It is from a fab website called The Ageing Young Rebel. It is really well written with great pictures to work from. Click here for the link to the penguin page. Do have a look at her other patterns, really nicely done πŸ™‚

Well, firstly, this is a weekend project for those of you who are determined, and able to crochet in daylight hours. Black yarn is a real challenge in all but the best light. I was able to indulge myself over a few days to make this little guy in the daytime. I am so pleased at how he turned out. Truly one of the cutest amigurumi I have made πŸ™‚

I would suggest this is an intermediate level. This is my personal opinion and purely based on my experience of crocheting amigurumi so far. The black yarn and the unusual way of putting the body together made it quite challenging for me. I am super pleased with the result though and he is already winging his way to his new home.

The hat pattern included was for a knitted hat. I cannot knit well and instead crocheted a hat. No pattern as such. What I did was:-

  1. 6sc into magic ring (6)
  2. increase in each stitch (12)
  3. sc,inc rpt all the way around (18)
  4. 2sc,inc rpt Β all the way around (24)
  5. 3sc, inc rpt all the way around (30)
  6. sc all the way around (30)
  7. 4sc, inc, rpt all the way around (36)
  8. at this point I started trying hat on the penguin to see if this would go on his head Β you can either increase again or simply start adding rows until it is the desired length. So much of this will depend on your tension and the type of hat you are after.
  9. Once it was the length I wanted I then made a row of half double crochet (hdc) in the front loops only (this creates an edge you can fold) to create the rim. Happy days.
  10. Finally make a tiny pompom and attach.

The scarf is my own design (if you can call it that!!) as the original penguin didn’t have one. I simply started with a chain of 8, then hdc into the third chain from the hook, hdc in each chain across. chain 2, turn your work and then hdc in all stitches across. Repeat till scarf is desired length. Attach tassels if you like.

Then smile at the cuteness that is your penguin πŸ™‚

 

 

Enjoy,

Lx

 

 

Crochet, Uncategorized

Mandala Madness 2018 edition

Love the saffron yellow

Well after giving away my original mandala to a very dear friend, I decided that I had to make myself one in all my favourite colours. The pattern is a wonderful free pattern by Helen Shrimpton. It was a crochet along that ran in 2016. Please see my previous mandala for all links to written pattern and video tutorials.

I have loved making these blankets, so imagine my delight when I discover that Helen has designed a new blanket that will be available as a crochet along starting on the 17th April 2018 πŸ™‚ Happy, happy days. Her website Crystals and Crochet has all the details and available yarn packs and links.

I am already intending to use my existing stash to make this but there are some cool colour suggestions on her site for those who like a well laid out plan.

 

Do have a go at making one of these yourself, I learned so much and the videos and photo tutorials make this very achievable for the adventurous beginner πŸ™‚ As long as you can yarn over and jam your hook in somewhere, have a go πŸ™‚

Enjoy,

Lx