Week 12 – Aperol Spritz, The World Cup and parts of an Amigurumi Sheep :)

The challenge this week has really been to get motivated enough to actually make a thing or bake a thing.  The weather has been lovely all week, and I cannot be bothered to do much more this evening than make myself a glass of Aperol Spritz 🙂 Tis delicious 🙂

For those of you who haven’t discovered Aperol. According to wikipedia Aperol is an Italian apéritif made of, gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona, among other ingredients. You mix this with Prosecco and soda for a delicious cocktail. It goes down beautifully with olives or salty nibbly things.

The recipe, such as it is, for an Aperol Cocktail is helpfully on the back of the label. Simply, 3 parts Prosecco, 2 parts Aperol and 1 part soda water. Top off with a slice of orange or pink grapefruit, sit down in the early evening sun and enjoy.

 

If you like a gin and tonic, then I would think you will like this. The Aperol adds a slight bitterness to the sweetness of the Prosecco. Its a lovely summery drink that is the most amazing shade of orange 🙂 Reminds me a bit of Irn Bru!!

 

I didn’t entirely fail at making a thing with crochet. I did do the squares for the square a week blanket and while England scored goal after goal this afternoon 🙂 I also managed to crochet a head and a body for what I am sure will be a cute sheep 🙂

Enjoy,

Lx

 

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Week 11 – this week has become a rather useful resource page!

Week 11 – a weekly challenge is proving to be more of a challenge than I can manage!!!

So here I am, 11 weeks into this challenge I set myself with no make or bake achieved this week. Not the plan for this blog.

However, as we all know life can get on the busy side. I have been busy spending time with my offspring. Mainly the youngest who popped home Wednesday evening for a long weekend home. We have tackled lots of very important issues over tea and pastries, including but not limited to – what colour sofa should we get next? whats for dinner? and is it ok to have a nap now? Really important stuff. We did also discuss this blog and things that we could incorporate into it and so it was decided that this week I could write about things I would like to make and do and take the opportunity to point you all at some of the wonderful blogs and websites out there that I use for inspiration.

Crochet

  • Moogly – this is pretty much my top go to blog for crochet inspiration. Tamara Kelly is the lady behind this work. Its a great site full of top 10 patterns for various things. Lots and lots of free patterns. It is an American site so generally using US terms for crochet patterns.
  • Attic 24 – love this site, particularly for colour inspiration and stitch choices. She has beautifully clear instructions. Her blankets are a thing of beauty and kits can be bought too.
  • Ravelry – this is a fabulous resource that I’m sure most of you have come across before. Lots of free patterns as well as paid for patterns.
  • Etsy – again another that most are familiar with. I have used this particularly to buy patterns for baby shoes as well as slippers. There are tons of free patterns out there but sometimes you need the security of a tried and tested pattern. With paying for a pattern you often get the support of the designer as well. Two girls patterns are a huge favourite and really great for responding to questions too.
  • Den Dennis – a designer from the Netherlands. The Amigurumi patterns on this site are a mixture of free and paid for and also a mixture of languages. Although a lot of the patterns are available in English. Do try some of the free patterns to get an idea of he puts his patterns together. You can buy patterns on Ravelry and Etsy too though. Great value patterns, easy to follow and consistently good results.
  • All about Ami – another great site for amigurumi, household items and clothes to make. Her site is a treat for the eyes too, I may have a go at making her gorgeous cardigan in the Autumn.
  • Its all in a nutshell – Esther runs this marvellously generous, fab site full of wonderful ideas and superb video tutorials. Lots of CALS (crochet alongs) to be inspired by.
  • Look what I made – another fabulous crochet site featuring most famously Sophies Universe. Dedri Uys is the designer of this blog. Featuring loads of free patterns that you will need to make 🙂
  • Crystal and Crochet – this site, run by designer Helen Shrimpton features paid for and free patterns. The mandala madness is a must 🙂

Food

  • BBC good food – this site is so easy to use. You can search by ingredient, recipe or keyword. Because it is such a reliable site and utilises so many chefs works, you can pretty much use just this site.
  • Madhur Jaffrey – Having not been a curry fan for many years, when I finally decided to start having a go at finding flavours that spoke to me, it made sense to look at Madhur Jaffreys books. She has been on the scene for many years, all the recipes that I use from mainly her book Curry Easy have been reliably easy to use and generally these days the ingredients have been easy to source. If you are not a fan of coriander like me then do try some of her recipes. Gorgeous flavours, varying levels of heat and lots that don’t use coriander 🙂
  • Nigella – not a lot I can say here really is there. I do prefer her sweet recipes with the Christmas recipes being used year on year.
  • The Great British Bake Off – every year since this cooking programme started there has been a companion book. I have bought almost all of them. You can however get hold of many of the popular recipes on their site direct. My Stem Ginger cookie recipe came from the first Bake Off Book and is consistently my most viewed recipe.

There is so much online these days. It can get a little overwhelming when looking for inspiration. Think that is why my go to list is possibly on the small side. There are of course loads more sites, books, magazines that I use but sometimes it’s nice to have slightly fewer choices to make 🙂

Keep it simple perhaps.

Enjoy,

L 🙂

 

P.S Next week, I will have a few more granny squares made for the 49 week granny blanket as well as something made!! (or not, depends on what inspires me 🙂 )

 

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 🙂

Anyway, the book I picked up for the grand sum of £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 tutorial 

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

 

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 🙂

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

 

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 🙂

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 🙂

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  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  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 🙂

 

 

Enjoy,

Lx

 

 

Crochet / baking project April 2018 – March 2019 – oh my!

Not entirely sure that I have thought this through. Whilst having a leisurely weekend with my youngest offspring (I think we relaxed too much) , we have decided that a blog challenge would be “good for me” and her!!! All the lols 🙂

The plan in a nutshell is – once a week, blog about a thing that I have made that week.

The criteria for the things are as follows:

  1. It must be either a baked thing or a crocheted thing.
  2. It must be achievable in a short period of time – either an evening, an afternoon or a weekend. So for arguments sake we have decided on 2-4 hour projects or one, up to 8 hour project. That way I can have time to do stuff I have to do and still feel like I am enjoying my hobbies.
  3. My youngest can set some of the challenges! (yikes)
  4. Blog about the recipe or pattern. Post pictures, how to’s etc every week on a Sunday.
  5. The last was a clever (not really) addition of doing a granny square as well every week, that will over the year form a lap blanket. The colours each week will be inspired by the weather, season or what we feel like! This cunningly should work through my collection of tiny balls of yarn. All about the right size to maybe make one small granny square. At the end of 49 weeks (a number that makes a square) I will choose a colour and a border to put it all together.

As this is the first week, and we have only just planned this plan. I have only one thing to post. It is (drum roll please) the first granny square!! Inspired by the Spring feel of this weekend, I chose to do this in a lovely shade of meadow green. The yarn is Style craft Special DK. This is my go to yarn for pretty much every project. The yarn is consistently reliable and affordable. You can pick this up online really easily from WoolWarehouse or try your local garden centres. A few near me stock it, happy days.


So here she is. Number one of 49, simple Granny squares. DK yarn, 4mm hook, 4 rows. Here is a really simple, clear tutorial for the type I have made. Do have a google though. There are loads of these on YouTube.

Looking forward to seeing how this develops over the next few weeks.

Enjoy,

Lx

 

Spring has Sprung (maybe) hopefully :)

Well the last couple of days have seen a delightful shine in the air. Birds have been chirping, sky is blue with cottonwool balls of clouds dancing along (I know, the words are a tad whimsical but that’s how I feel today 🙂 enjoy it!). My garden is showing signs of life too. Lovely, although it is a teensy bit early so hope we don’t have too much of a downturn on the weather front (forecast is looking a little chilly ahead)

Anyway, I digress. I have found myself recently with a little time off. Apart from napping, I have also been crocheting like a demon and also a spot of baking again. Lovely.

Todays venture has resulted in a batch of lemon curd for my daughter to take back to Uni with her tomorrow so that she can make some lemon curd and white chocolate muffins. Check out my recipe here, for the lemon curd. Keeps for about two weeks in the fridge although we’ve never had it long enough to test that theory!!!

I am hoping she sends me some pics. I have also finally got all the pieces together for my latest blanket, here is a sneak preview of some of the pieces 🙂 

The other thing I have been doing is trying to get better at my food photography skills, looking back over the last year to try and find a picture of spring flowers, I stumbled across some pics I took last year that never really got showcased. Apologies for the self indulgence but I really like them despite the fact that one of them is of the peel of a garlic bulb!!! Not to mention that this is the best pic I have produced in the last year (I think!)

Enjoy,

Lx

 

Gingerbread House 2016 edition

As always, Christmas Eve is made up of me and mine making gingerbread houses. See my previous Christmas posts for recipes (although there are very many fabulous ones online). This year we also made two miniature houses for gifts as well as a gingerbread star tree. I have to say Christmas Eve is truly my favourite day during the festive period. Have a wonderful time, love and sparkles xx

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Enjoy,

Love L x

Crochet bunting for a summer wedding

IMG_3191Every month now for a few months, myself and a few friends have been getting together every month. Primarily, so that I can teach them what I know about crochet (not masses, but enough!) and also to eat more cake than we probably should, washed down with gallons of tea.

Anyway, as we crochet, we chat. It transpired that one of my lovely new crochet buddies is planning a wedding for this month. It will be decorated with lots of handmade or grown at home stuffs (see cute pic of sweet peas given to me by lovely groom’s Mum!). It was decided that some crochet bunting would be a good teach as quite a simple pattern, and very pleasing to do as it works up quite quickly.

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There are lots of patterns online for bunting. The version that I showed my friends was based on one I had seen on Pink Milk -crochet bunting tutorial

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The leaves and the daisy flowers I created myself without a pattern.I may have a go at writing the pattern up (watch this space). I used them to embellish and trim the bunting. The tassels were, quite frankly, an example of me getting carried away. This was really my first foray into designing something myself. I quite enjoyed the process and the groom’s Mum seems pleased with the result, so all in all, a win methinks.

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Enjoy,

Lx

Mandala Madness parts one – six!

IMG_3113Ooooh, I am loving this pattern.

Yet again, I am some way behind everyone else. I stumbled across the pattern as it was coming to the end of it’s CAL!! However, there is a bit of an advantage to this, in that I can see all the wonderful finished versions already made. There are a couple of groups on face book worth checking out too.

The links to all the parts can be found on the Crystals and crochet site. Lots of really lovely things to make on this site too. The written pattern is really well done with clear pictures and lots of useful tips and tricks.

Have a look online for some colour inspiration. I decided that this would be a potential perfect stash buster and so far have managed to only use yarn left over from previous projects or random purchase!!! Think this pattern really lends itself to some seriously random colours, although that may just be me!!!

I have seen some truly delicious ones online where the maker has been more restrained and planned better than I.

Anyway, will continue to post parts as I am finishing them.

Before I forget, the wonderful Esther Dijkstra from It’s all in a Nutshell has also done some fabulous video tutorials. I would not have achieved half of this pattern without these.

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Enjoy,

Lx