2018/19 The big project thing, Cats and crochet, Crochet

September already :)

September has arrived very swiftly it seems this year. Thankfully though it appears to be at it’s best so far with cooler nights for sleeping comfort and warm days with a fresh breeze. Its my husbands favourite month of the year and its easy to see why.

I am looking forward to making crochet blankets. They are not the thing to make in the summer especially one as hot as we have had this year. I started a little while back but am pleased to report that my Cosmic Cal 2018 is well on the way, with part 1 completed.

The pattern is wonderful and free from Helen Shrimpton at Crystals and Crochet. I have been following the videos but the written pattern is free to all and can be found on the website easily in UK and US terms.

As ever, I am using my go to yarn, Stylecraft Special DK. Cheap, reliable and many colours to choose from. You can’t go wrong with this yarn. Colours chosen from my yarn stash. I am trying to not go shopping at Woolwarehouse!!!

I have also been experimenting with Instagram. My daughter has been honing her drawing skills over the last year and it has been truly inspirational to see how she has progressed. She felt that I should be using Instagram so that I can get an instant “hit” of likes that should inspire me to create more. She was right, as with all things social media, it is very addictive! I have enjoyed being able to upload a speedy picture.

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, amigurumi, Crochet, Family

Week 13 – Amigurumi Sheep, a weekend project

This weeks project instalment is a very cute amigurumi sheep. On hunting for something to make using a couple of balls of Sirdar Snowflake that I had picked up in a sale. I found this glorious blog, The Friendly Red FoxΒ full of wonderful things to crochet. Kali, the blogger has filled her site with loads of free patterns as well as handy tips and tricks for the beginner as well as those of us who have been crocheting for a little while. She has a soft spot for all things amigurumi, I suspect I will be making a few more of her creations. Definitely be adding this blog to my useful resource page!!

Kali’s ami sheep is the cutest thing. My version hasn’t quite captured the cute lameness of Kali’s. In fact it looks a lot like a mouse in a sheep costume. However, for my purposes (gift for my neighbours 6 year old) it did the job. It is squishy and cute. What more do you need from a cuddly toy πŸ™‚

Overall this project took me around 8 hours to make. It most certainly is something that could be made over a weekend, although I enjoyed making bits of this over the course of a week.

Happy crocheting,

Enjoy,

Lx

Note re Sirdar Snowflake – this yarn is a little tricky to use at first. Trust your fingers, you can feel the loops more easily than you can see them. Plus it is so fluffy that if you miss the odd stitch or add the odd one, it won’t show up anyway πŸ™‚

2018/19 The big project thing

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. Β 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 πŸ™‚ Tis delicious πŸ™‚

For those of you who haven’t discovered Aperol. According to wikipedia Aperol is an Italian apΓ©ritif 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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚ I also managed to crochet a head and a body for what I am sure will be a cute sheep πŸ™‚

Enjoy,

Lx

 

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

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 πŸ™‚
  • Crystal and Crochet – this site, run by designer Helen Shrimpton features paid for and free patterns. The mandala madness is a must πŸ™‚
  • The Friendly Red Fox – my latest find and love, full of free patterns and super tutorials. A must if you love Amigurumi.

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 πŸ™‚
  • 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 πŸ™‚

Keep it simple perhaps.

Enjoy,

L πŸ™‚

 

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 πŸ™‚ )

 

2018/19 The big project thing, breakfast, Healthy Living

Week 9 – My overnight oats, oooooh how exciting!!!

This blog started life as a way of recording family recipes that we enjoy. We didn’t want those recipes that we keep in our heads to disappear over time.

I know, I know. This doesn’t sound remotely exciting, and if I’m honest, how exciting do you really need breakfast to be? But, I think, it is just exciting enough (don’t judge me, breakfast sets you up for the day!)

This recipe is inspired by all of the many recipes you can find out there for overnight oats/Bircher Muesli. I had of course read about these and a few friends had waxed lyrical about them. Honestly though, the thought of soggy, cold porridge did not appeal. If you are having cereal, I have always tried to eat it as fast as possible to stop any sogginess happening. I even pondered the two bowl approach πŸ™‚

How wrong was I. Not entirely sure what prompted me to try these in the end but here we are.

I googled and found many recipes. You can probably find a recipe for every day of the week. There are so many options, although the oats certainly appear to be universal. The bigger the better. For the dairy components, you can add milk of course, but condensed milk was in one recipe, cream in another and yoghurt or combinations of.

The next ingredient that features in all seemed to be grated apple. Now I did try this but my grater turned most apples to mush, and I refuse to go out and buy a special grater just for this. It also seemed to be an awful lot of faff for not much in the way of flavour for me. Of course, try it. It is after all your breakfast, you might as well make it to suit you. I dabbled with pureed apple sauce, not bad but settled on apple juice. I pretty much always have it in the fridge as it is hubby’s choice generally, when it comes to juice πŸ™‚

Nuts, another seemingly universal ingredient. All types, it appears go into these recipes . All to add some crunch as well as protein. I do not like nuts, therefore, I did not include them!! If nuts are your thing, go wild.

Dried fruits – again, many recipes include different types depending on the author. Like most households I can usually find some sultanas or raisins in the cupboard but this recipe works beautifully with any kind that you like really. I am currently loving the tropical fruit mix which has mango and papaya in it. Yum. But I have some apricots ready for the next bowl.

That is pretty much that in terms of main ingredients but let your imagination (and what’s in your stores) decide. Add seeds, fresh fruit, spices, syrups, granola, plant based milks and yoghurts. This recipe can be entirely vegan should your heart desire it.

What I have been really pleased with is that I can have this without any added sugar. I have a wicked sweet tooth and generally find that I prefer life on the sweeter side. Adding cinnamon, for me, is the magic ingredient that ties it all together and gives it the sweetness I need. That and the fruits of course. I’m aware they have sugar in them, but for me this is pretty good to avoid adding syrup or something similar.

As the title suggests, these are generally made the night before. This does buy you some valuable morning time. However, if like me you are regularly not organised for life. When you get up, nip down, apple juice your oats, stick them back in the fridge while you get showered, dressed etc. They’ll have soaked enough by the time you get down again. The overnight soaking gives a much softer porridgy mix, but 10-15 minutes soaking is fine if that’s all the time you have.

Lorna’s Overnight (or first thing!) Oats

  • 40g large scottish rolled oats
  • Around 6tbsp apple juice
  • Dried fruit, to taste (I’ve never weighed these, just chuck on a few, about 40g)
  • Milk to loosen mixture, again, this is very much about personal preference.
  • Cinnamon
  • Yoghurt to top
  • Fresh Fruit – whatever is in season or you like. Pears are lovely with this as are strawberries.

Method

  • The night before, in your cereal bowl, place your oats and dried fruit. Add your apple juice to these. Stick it back in the fridge and go to bed πŸ™‚
  • In the morning, take them out and add enough milk to loosen the mixture. You may have to play around with this. It really must be how you like it. I usually add some, give it a mix, taste and then add more if needed πŸ™‚
  • Next sprinkle on your cinnamon, mix. Again this is to taste. Add a little and then more as you like it. Cinnamon is super good for you and apparently help regulate blood sugar. Happy days.
  • Then the toppings. Again this is all about you. I like to add some fresh fruit if I have it to hand. However tinned pears are particularly yummy with this. A dollop of yogurt works well too.

As ever, there is a granny square a week as well related to this project. This weeks square is a delicious peachy pink.

Enjoy,

Lx

P.S I tried my best to take a good picture of this, not my best work. I am not a photographer and food pics are challenging when you are faced with a bowl of creamy brownish smoosh!!

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, 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

 

 

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

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

Skarmory

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 πŸ™‚

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