Sunday, 25 November 2012

Sophia's (Twinkle Twinkle) Little Star shaped Baby blanket - Free Pattern

EDIT#1: You may have noticed the title of this post and the name of the blanket has changed a bit. I did this because the little lady to be that I designed this blanket for now has a name and so does the pattern. 
EDIT#2: Thanks to a very helpful commenter and fellow blogger loose ends the issue that's been causing people's design to go wonky has been noticed and amended. My apologies for not finding the mistake sooner/myself. 

EDIT#2: I had someone ask me in the comments how much yarn I used. I wanted to put it up here.
I used about 1lb of worsted weight yarn for this blanket. 2 strands of worsted are worked together.

If you want to use baby or sport weight use 3 strands together.

By all means, this pattern can be worked with a super bulky yarn that's actually meant to be used on a hook this large

Sophia's (Twinkle Twinkle) Little Star shaped Baby blanket

Corrections: I orriginally posted the pattern with the shell as follows: 2DC, CH1, 2DC. I have changed the CH1 to CH 2. (jan 8/13)

My finished measurements are about 35 inches from point to point.

2 strands of worsted are being worked together with my trusty 10mm (P) hook.

Shell = 2 double crochet, chain 2, 2 double crochet in same stitch or chain space.

SC2TOG (decrease) =  Draw up loop on each of the next 2 stitches, yarn over and draw through all loops on hook

I'm kind of writing it as I go so please let me know if  you find any mistakes.
Here we go!
Round 1:  work 9 HDC in magic ring. Slst to first Stitch  

Round 2: Ch 1, SC in same stitch, *3 DC in next stitch, SC* Repeat around. Slst to first DC.

Round 3: Ch 3, *DC, in next stitch, shell in next stitch,  DC, skip SC* repeat around. Slst to first DC

Round 4: Ch 3, Dc in next stitch, *Shell in chain space, DC in next 2 stitches, SC2TOG, DC in next 2 stitches* Repeat around. SC2TOG over last 2 stitches. SLST to top of ch3.

round 5 complete
Up until this point the piece still looks pretty round (I should've snapped a picture) but you'll see the star start to form after these next two rounds.- I did get pictures of that.
Round 5: Ch 3, 1 DC in next 4 stitches,*Shell in next chsp, 1 DC in next 4 stitches, skip stitch, 1DC in next 4* repeat around, skip last stitch and Slst to ch3

Round 6: Ch 3, 1 DC in next 5 stitches, *shell in ch sp, DC in next 5 stitches, SC2TOG, DC in next 5 stitches* repeat around, sc2tog over last 2 stitches and Slst to ch3.

round 6 complete

Round 7: Ch 3, 1 DC in next 7 stitches, *Shell in ch sp, DC in next 7 stitches, skip stitch* Repeat around, skip last stitch and Slst to ch3.

Round 8: Ch 3, 1 DC in next 8 stitches, *Shell in ch sp, DC in next 8 stitches, SC2TOG, DC in  next 8 stitches* Repeat around, SC2TOG over last 2 stitches and sl st in ch 3 sp.

Round 9: Ch 3, Dc in next 10 stitches, *Shell in ch sp, DC in next 10 stitches, skip stitch, DC in next 10* Repeat around, skip last stitch ans Slst in ch3.

Round 10: Ch 3, Dc in next 11 stitches * Shell in Ch sp, Dc in next 11 stitches, SC2TOG, Dc in next 11 stitches* repeat around, sc2tog over last 2 stitches and Slst to CH3

Round11: Ch 3, Dc in next 13 stitches *Shell in Ch, DC in next 13 stitches, skip stitch, DC in next 13 stitches* Repeat around, Skip last stitch and Slst to Ch3.

Round 12: Ch 3. Dc in next14 stitches *shell in Ch sp, DC in next 14 stitches, SC2TOG, DC in next 14 stitches* Repeat around, sc2tog over last 2 stitches and slst to Ch3.

Round: 13: Ch 3  Dc in next 16 stitches *Shell in Ch, DC in next 16 stitches, skip stitch, DC in next 16 stitches* Repeat around, Skip last stitch and Slst to Ch3.

Round 14: Ch 3. Dc in next 17 stitches *shell in Ch sp, DC in next 17 stitches, SC2TOG, DC in next 17 stitches* Repeat around, sc2tog over last 2 stitches and slst to Ch3.

Round: 15: Ch 3  Dc in next 18 stitches *Shell in Ch, DC in next 18 stitches, skip stitch, DC in next 18 stitches* Repeat around, Skip last stitch and Slst to Ch3.

(I changed colours on the last round, just because I can
Round 16: Ch 3. Dc in next 20 stitches *shell in Ch sp, DC in next 20 stitches, SC2TOG, DC in next 20 stitches* Repeat around, sc2tog over last 2 stitches and slst to Ch3. 
 Fasten off and weave in ends.

You can continue on as above for as many rounds as you like if you want a bigger blanket.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Happy wovember (moveber)

don't let the look on my face fool you. I'm THRILLED!
It's November!
Halloween is over, my boy just turned 2, remembrance/veterans day has just passed holiday music is creeping into radio rotation, there's SNOW on the ground (yep, that's right like a good foot of the white stuff!)! Holiday themed coffees and early Christmas shopping aside November has also become what we all know and love as Movember (we'll celebrate movember in a different post). Recently I've learned that November is the month to celebrate real wool. Not blends or "wooly/woolen" fabrics/yarns but real honest to goodness wool from a real honest to goodness sheep.
 Knit, crochet or felt with it, wear it and appreciate the wonderful properties of wool! They call it Wovember and it's a movement I can get behind. What's better than a beautiful wool garment? Not much. So grab a skein (or those wool socks nanny made you) and celebrate sheep, wool and the people who make it happen for us. 

pardon my messy yarn

If you're anything like me you're probably already eyeballs deep in winter or Christmas projects and while you're at it why don't you pick up some good old fashioned 100% real wool (or, if you're anything like me just pull some out of your never ending stash) and make a little something for yourself or someone else.

 I've been needing an excuse to make something for myself so I pulled out a couple of (4oz) skeins Of a wonderful wool my mother in law sent me for Christmas last year called heritage by Briggs and Little it is beautiful 100% Canadian (made in New Brunswick) real [like there were some bits of hay still in it] wool yarn. Apparently Briggs and Little is Canada's oldest woollen mill so yay! totally fitting! The pattern I decided to go for was this lovely hooded cowl/"infinity scarf"  from string with style.

WHAT is happening with my hair?
I'll admit that I altered the pattern, like I do with every pattern I use.. I used the same hook size and the same thickness of yarn as the pattern called for. I did add an extra row to the width of the piece, I like thick scarves- In fact now that it's finished I might go around the bottom of it once (or twice) more to make it even thicker.

  I also added an extra row or two to the hood and I made the entire project in one piece rather than fastening off, making a hood, sewing it together and then sewing it on. That seemed like a lot more work than my lazy butt had in mind.

 I just continued on with the first row of the hood on top of the last row of the scarf. It worked out rather well and I'm pretty pleased with the result. It's a nice fast project and will serve me well. Yay wool!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Just a quick update. Also a quick tutorial of those sweet little crocodile stitch baby booties

Happy October everyone!
I've been super super busy with the cold weather coming up. Making hats and slippers, blankets and a few gifts. I'm planning a trip to Nova Scotia/ Prince Edward Island next week and I've been doing some quick finishing up of projects I wanted to share with you all out there.

picot flowers
I finally finished something for myself this week! I made this slouchy hat out of some bernart roving in a lovely coral colour and embellished it with a couple of these picot flowers and a few leaves of my own design. It's warm, soft and fuzzy, even if the flowers are a bit too big.

Work in progress
I also did some delving into the crocodile stitch. Finally. There are a lot of different tutorials out there to get the desired effect. I find this one to be the best/easiest.

I decided to try to figure my own method of making those cute crocodile stitch booties I keep seeing everywhere. It was super easy. But I did learn a couple of helpful hints that I'll share with you.

I just made a pair of baby slippers in a "mary jane" style and omitted the strap then added an extra round decreases and another round of stitches at the top of the slipper, fasten off as you normally would then tie your yarn on what will be the "outside" of the bootie and began the round of crocodile stitches. (as you'll see mine have the "seam/buttons" up the back- I should've done 'em up the side).

I found it beneficial to skip a stitch between my V stitch and Single crochet when I set up the "scale" on the first go around. You'll also want to to a chain and turn (working back and forth rather than in rounds) on the crocodile stitches. Starting a new colour is easy enough, just fasten off and tie on at the end of the "scale" and set up your row of V stitches in the new colour (you want the set up and the scale in the same colour). Then you just fasten off and weave in your ends as with every other crochet project and add some cute little buttons.

I just used the "turning chains" as button holes but you can sew little loops on for button holes. So, there you have it. They're super cute and really easy. I'm working on a big pair of boots with jute bottoms in this style for myself.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Oh My Little Ponies!

she still needs her cutie mark

I loved  My Little Pony when I was a kid, I mean who didn't right? They're so cute and the show was seriously fun.
Of course we all know that our favorite (and some new) ponies made a comeback a few years ago with my little pony friendship is magic. I couldn't even believe that they got cuter. But they did.
Of course, little miss (and little guy) are super in love with the show and the lovable characters (we have many, many pony toys to prove it).

It's Pinky Pie!
Which is why, with my recent forays into toy making  I started looking for pony patterns (among other bits of geeky awesomeness), because you know, I'm the coolest mom ever. There are some pretty cute options out there for making little ponies, which are completely adorable, I can't wait to give them a try. I'm thinking they'll be great little stocking stuffers.
Lucky for me I found the mother of all stuffed pony patterns. Go. look. It's amazing. Like wow! So impressed by this one. It's clear, detailed and simple to follow and it just comes together like nothing. 

needs more stuffing and patience
I decided to try this pattern out for myself and made a pinky pie for my little ones. She's awesome. The kids are in love with it and so am I. I must admit she's wonky because I rushed through the pattern, I was just too excited to take my time. Which I didn't. At. All. It shows in the final construction of the pony. She's all wonky but the kids love her and did I mention how freakin excited I am about this pattern?! Seriously.Go. Make a pony.  I'm going to finish her cutie mark up and start another one for little man. So exciting! Such a wonderful pattern! 

Monday, 10 September 2012

A family of slippers!

I wrote about that time of year in my last post. Fall and chilly weather mean chilly feet. Chilly feet means one of my favorite instant gratification projects: Slippers! I didn't get a chance to make some for myself and husband last year because I was too busy with other projects.
Little miss's well worn slippers from last year
I did get some made for the kids though, I made them slippers in this style last year.My daughter's still fit her and she's still very happy with them. Adjusting the length of my foundation chain according to their foot sizes as per this tutorial. It's super easy if you want to give it a shot. 

finished product. I decided to omit the strap.
A quick rule of thumb for figuring out the length of your foundation chain is to measure the length of your foot then the width of your foot and subtract the width from the length. This is how long you'll need the foundation chain to be. Then you just do 3 stitches in the "corners" (take a look at the first link for the chart- you can follow their basic design only bigger/smaller according to your needs).

black for the husband.
This year I went for something a little bit different. I made mine and my husband's with this pattern. I just didn't add the strap and contrasting color.  This pattern as is makes slippers to fit my size 9 (American women's sizes) feet as well as my husband's size 8 foot with no alterations. She does include some instructions on making them bigger/smaller in the printer friendly version.Basically, you just need to make sure it fits on your toes nicely like in her pictures. Seriously. Go look at her pictures. So. Much. Easier.

 I used the double ring method to start mine (my favorite new trick) but you can use any method of starting in the round.

I had a hard time finding and existing pattern for slippers to fit my little guy. It seems like everything is in baby sizes (this pattern is easy to make a bit bigger by adding an extra round of increases plus adding a bit of length) so I just adjusted this method to make him some. You can easily make these a bit bigger by adding an extra round of increases and then adding an extra row or 2 of length. If you need them smaller. I recommend altering the baby pattern i linked above to be a little bit bigger. Basically you want the toes to fit over the toes your making them for like a little cup.

Here's what I came up with. These fit his little 22 month foot which is 4.5  inches long by 2 inches wide.
I used a 5mm hook and worsted yarn. a small amount of contrasting color and a yarn needle

Round 1: In double ring (or magic ring OR ch4 and in third ch from hook) Work 6 dc. slst in first crochet. Chain 2
round 2: 2 dc in stitch around (12 dc)
Round 3: *2 dc in same stitch, 1dc in next stitch* Repeat around. Join in chsp. (18)
Little slippers for little man.
Round 4: Dc in each stitch around (18 dc). Join in chsp.
Round 5: Ch2 Dc in next 13. Ch2 turn.
Rows 6-11: Dc in next 13. Ch2, turn.
Row 12: Dc in next 5, Dc 3tog, Dc in next 5. fasten off leaving a long tail.
Use the tail to slst or whip stitch the back of the slipper together creating the heel.
Round 13: Attach yarn above heel and sc down side. When you reach the "corner" by the toes sc 3tog.  Dc across toes, sc 3tog at corner and sc up the other side. (If you wish fasten off here and attach a contrasting yarn)
Round 15: sc down side, sc 3 tog at toes, Dc across toes, sc 3tog at corner, Sc up side, Fasten off and weave in ends.

If you like you can add a little button or other embellishment or attach a loop made from a chain halfway down for a little strap. Sky is the limit.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Stay on Stroller blanket. FREE Crochet pattern

It's that time of year again, there is an abundance of fresh produce, the evenings are cooling off, parents are counting the hours until school is back in session. Fall is upon us!

With the mornings and evenings cooling we're digging for sweaters, socks and long pants again and I'm finding we have a lack of suitable stroller blanket. A non-issue previous couple of falls, with little dude both being small enough and preferring to travel everywhere in the carrier.

Not so much these days, at a hefty 21 months he prefers the freedom and ride of the stroller.I figured it was about time to make him a nice little stroller blanket. I have a really nice multi-hued yarn that reminds me of fall, which I've been meaning to use up and a really beautiful Scottish wool in lovely red that I've been saving for something special so I set out hoping to incorporate those into this project.

 I remembered a wonderful idea I had pinned recently for a super pretty little car seat blanket designed by string with style, which I cannot wait to make. It's just delicious! The brilliant bit about it is there is a little slit crocheted into the blanket for the bottom clip of the car seat to clip around so the blanket will stay on. So friggin smart.

I just needed something a bit bigger for little dude's stroller. So, I used the basic idea and made a different little blanket. It's super simple, just worked in a half double crochet stitch. The texture is achieved by alternating crocheting through the front loop only then back loop only across your rows.

I used a 11.5mm hook
 2 strands of worsted weight yarn worked together, I used the red and multi-hued yarn as well as some grey for the edging (I'm so terrible, I have so much random yarn in my stash I never have any idea how much I use).

Ch 54
Row 1: Skip first ch, SC in next 53

Rows 2-20: Ch 2, turn, *Hdc in FLO (front loop only) of next stitch, HDC in BLO (back loop only) of next stitch*    repeat across.

Row 21: Ch2, turn, *HDC in FLO, HDC in BLO* Repeat across for 24 stitches, you should end in the back loop, SC in next stitch CH3, skip 3, SC in next stitch,  HDC in FLO of next stitch, HDC in BLO of next stitch* repeat across last 25 stitches

Row 22: Ch 2, turn, *Hdc in FLO (front loop only) of next stitch, HDC in BLO (back loop only) of next stitch*    repeat across. Don't worry about trying to crochet in front and back loops on the ch 3. Just crochet across the chain as normal.

Row 23: Ch 2, turn, *Hdc in FLO (front loop only) of next stitch, HDC in BLO (back loop only) of next stitch*    repeat across.

Row 24:   Ch2, turn, *HDC in FLO, HDC in BLO* Repeat across for 24 stitches, you should end in the back loop, SC in next stitch CH3, skip 3, SC in next stitch,  HDC in FLO of next stitch, HDC in BLO of next stitch* repeat across last 25 stitches

Row 25: Ch 2, turn, *Hdc in FLO (front loop only) of next stitch, HDC in BLO (back loop only) of next stitch*    repeat across. Don't worry about trying to crochet in front and back loops on the ch 3. Just crochet across the chain as normal.

Row 26-43:  Ch 2, turn, *Hdc in FLO (front loop only) of next stitch, HDC in BLO (back loop only) of next stitch*    repeat across.

Row 44: Ch1 turn, SC through both loops in next stitch SC across, Fasten off.

Edging is worked in rounds along the edge of the blanket:
Round 1: Tie on contrasting yarn in any corner work CH3, DC, CH 1, (all in corner), DC in next stitch, *DC in each stitch across, work DC, CH1, DC, CH1 in corners* join with SLST in CH3 space.

Round 2: CH3, DC, CH 1, (all in corner), DC in next stitch, *DC in each stitch across, work DC, CH1, DC, CH1 in corners* (you will work your DC into the DC made in the previous round) join with SLST in CH3 space.

So, that's what I've come up with for a stroller variation of the no slip car seat blanket. I sure hope we get good use out of it.  I'll get some pictures of in in action ASAP. 

Thursday, 30 August 2012

If you wanna be a viking say YAAAA!

Everybody say YAA!

Who doesn't love a viking helmet?

I know I do! So do my kids and husband and the rest of everyone ever.
I've seen a lot of them out there for sale and a handful of free patterns just didn't have what I was looking for in the horn area. Which, I must admit I'm pretty picky about.

Just when I thought all hope was lost and I'd have to fight like a mad woman to figure something out or suffer sub par horns I came across this pattern/tutorial. I gotta tell ya, it was love at first sight!

I had a few ideas in my head for the actual helmet part, the thing is I want to attach a big beard to it and give my son a little toy axe, slap some fun fur and a dollar store chest plate on him and send him out dressed as "stoik the vast" from How to train your dragon. So I wanted it to be good and helmety.

The horns are a bit tricky both to make, I'm pretty sure I lost count more than twice and place (I'm impatient and terrible at taking my time to do things properly) but that will get easier with practise. I kind of like them a little bit wonky.  

The hat itself can be made with any hat patten, ever and adding some popcorn stitches about 3/4 of the way down. The piping is made from chains just sewn into place and are totally optional. Heck you don't even need to make them 2 toned.

I'm probably going to end up making  a lot of these.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Home made ketchup (catsup..? ketchup..?) recipe. Serious yum (and healthy!)

Actually, it's different names for the same thing. Home made ketchup is a wonderful thing. It doesn't take long to make, it's delicious and you get to control how much salt and sugar goes into it and hey, no worries about that high fructose corn syrup everyone is so worried about. Best of all, if you have  a little one old enough to help stir the pot. They love to help stir..

Recently we were given whole a box of tomatoes. When I say a box. I mean, like a case of them. It was intense. There were so many of them we didn't even know what to do with them (ah, the joys of late summer), So, there was a mad rush to roast off as many as we could, sauce making and salad eating. Which hardly seemed to make a dent. I ended up freezing a bunch of the roasted tomatoes but not after using a bunch of them (and some fresh ones) to make some ketchup.
   Having 2 small kids means we go through a lot of.. well condiments in general.. But they do eat a lot of ketchup so when we were running low and I had an abundance of produce, why not try making some?!

I looked up a few different recipes online but it's all a pretty basic method. Here's what I used:

Roasted and raw tomatoes-probably about 8-10 (you could use canned tomatoes)- I didn't peel them or anything I just threw them in. you might want to cut them up or squish them a bit first.
1 small onion, diced (really really small)
1 red pepper, diced (really really small)
2 cloves garlic, diced
 vinegar to taste (about 1/2 cup- white or cider, use what you have)
sugar to taste (I used about 2 tblsp)
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste (1-2 tblsp)
pinch (1/2 tsp each) ground cloves, nutmeg and Cinnamon  (most recipes called for allspice. I don't have allspice.)
 corn starch and water to thicken (optional)

Some recipes include molasses some don't. I'm all about using what is on hand, I'm not about to go out and buy something just for one recipe. Especially in cases like allspice and molasses, which I'm not likely to use again for a long long time. 

What I did:
cook the onions on med/low until soft. add in garlic and red pepper, Cook until red pepper is soft. Add tomatoes and seasonings, and let the whole thing simmer for a long time. I did mine for about 45 minutes, stirring quite often to keep it from burning. 

If you have a blender (immersion blender-even better) you'll want to toss the whole mess in the blender until smooth and cook it down a bit more to reduce. Which should leave it thick enough.

I don't have a blender, so I processed mine through a food mill a few times then added some corn starch and water (just follow the box directions) to thicken it a bit. It's got bits of skin and onion in it still. I quite like it that way. 
When it cooled, I just tossed it in our empty, washed out ketchup bottle.

There you have it, home made ketchup. I encourage you all to give it a try next time your drowning in extra tomatoes. It's well worth the bit of work. I also recommend roasting your tomatoes first. It sweetens them up so much (yay adding less sugar) and gives it all a lovely taste.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Wonder woman and dragons and amigurumi oh my!

Lately I've been working on a few different types of projects than I usually work on. I usually direct my attention to fairly quick and easy, practical projects like mittens, hats, slippers, baby photo props  and a few pretties like headbands, little tiaras and necklaces now and then.

I like using basic designs and adding on to them, making them extra cute and extra personal kitty cat slippers for my little girl, viking hats for my boy. little bows and whatnot. I like the ease of using the 4mm-6mm hooks and how quickly these little projects tend to come together. I'm not big on  using little hooks and thread, they're a pain. 

I've been wanting to try working on some different types of projects lately and with my kids being sick this week it was a good time to try my hand at some amigurumi friends for them. 

Little girl demanded (asked nicely for) a wonder woman. And my little dude likes anything with wheels or that goes "RAAAA" so I began scouring for patterns. 

Wonder woman was easy enough to figure out. I used the basic amigurumi body here. Which was a fine pattern, It calls for a hook bigger than I wanted to use (I'm paranoid about stuffing showing through). I used a slightly smaller hook and altered it a bit to make her a little thicker. I used the star pattern here on a 1.5mm hook with size 10 thread for her tiara and improvised little stars for her shorts.. I'm not sure where her little lasso of truth was when I took the picture but I did make one. I just braided some yellow yarn and tied an adjustable slipknot in it.

The dragon was super fun, quick and easy. I used  Lucy Ravenscar's Fierce little dragon pattern and button eyes. Little guy picked out the colors and away I went. It was a breeze to make. The pattern is very well written and simple to follow. 

The end results are pretty great. Wonder woman still needs a couple of touches, like her hair needs a bit of fixing and she still needs her second W but little girl is so pleased.. I'm planning on making her own wonder woman tiara to match.

Although I'm not a fan of small hooks and tight stitches I'm really enjoying making toys. The kids are so happy about them and they're pretty darn cute. I'm already trying my hand at some baby toys as my extended family is about to get even larger.. But that's another post.

If anyone has a basic doll pattern that they like to use would you please share it with me in the comments? I'm still searching for the perfect one. 

Monday, 6 August 2012

Who wants to learn how to crochet an Octopus?

I thought so!

Twofer today! this has been sitting unpublished in my dashboard for months!

Okay, so this project came into my head and heart earlier this week. A friend drew a picture of two lovey octopuses and it got me thinking that I would love to make one. So after trying it a few times And failing miserably ( I just couldn't get the legs right) I did an interweb search (all hail lord Google!) and came up with some wonderful pictures of the Octopus pattern from Ruby submerine and I found me a free pattern from PaulaGail over at squidoo and I knew what I wanted and now have a fairly good idea of how to achieve my desired effect (Start with the legs! who knew!).

So, Now I'm going to walk to through what I've come up with, with the help of the pattern I found from Squidoo and a few tweaks of my own:

Leg 1: Chain 21. Starting in 2nd ch from end,
5 sc, 13 hdc, 2 dc. Leg should have a natural twist.

Legs 2-8: Without cutting the yarn, repeat steps for leg 1 seven more times. You will have eight curly legs all in a row. Join the legs into a circle with a slip stitch in the first chain of the first leg.

Head and body:

Working from the legs in continuous rounds without turning:
Round 1: Work 2 sc through the dc at the base of each leg (16 st).
Round 2:*1 sc in each of next 2 st, work 2 st together* 4 times (12 st).
Rounds 3, 4: Sc in each sc around (12 st).
Round 5: *1 sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in 3rd st* 4 times (16 st).
Round 6: *1 sc in each of next 3 st, 2 sc in 4th st* 4 times (20 st).
Rounds 7-9: Sc in each sc around (20 st).
Round 10: 1 sc in each of next 3 st, work 2 st together* 4 times (16 st).
Round 11: *1 sc in each of next 2 st, work 2 st together* 4 times (12 st).
Round 12: *1 sc in next st, work 2 st together* 4 times (8 st).
Round 13: *Work 2 st together* 4 times (4 st).

Cut yarn. You probably will not have a hole at the top with only 4 st, but if you do,
use yarn end to stitch hole shut. Work in yarn ends.

I attached sew-on googly eyes to the sides and taa-daa!

This one I SC an extra round before I started the major decrease in the head/body. 
He's still not quite right but I'm getting there

Happy Summer! I made an angel!

"festival shawl"
It's been a while! I hope everyone out there in interweb land is having a wonderful, relaxing and productive summer. I know I am.
With the dog days of summer and the husband taking some time off work I've been spending less and less time at the computer and just enjoying some time with my family. And crocheting. Always crocheting.

disgruntled bird
I've been working on some cool weather projects. A lovely shawl in mohair for myself, viking hats for the children and some fun stuff for my nieces and nephew etc.. But lately it's been far too hot to think about wooly warm goodness so I've finally worked up the nerve to work on some lacy things.

little panda
"Penny rose" necklace

Tiny hooks, thread and  the colour white make me nervous. So this is a big step for me and of course my being who I am I don't start small.. No no. My first project... A friggin 9 inch tree topper angel for my Mother in law (shhhh don't tell her. It's a seceret).

head and torso formed, beginning work on the skirt

I cannot tell you how happy I am with how it turned out. Especially considering I used a smaller crochet hook than the pattern calls for and made a little bit up as I went along.  I was a bit nervous in a couple of spots. Like the head/neck and right where you join it to make the sleeves for the dress. I just kept chugging along and I met with success.

So close
Because I used a smaller hook and I wanted to maintain the size I added a couple of extra rounds in the head, body and skirt as well as I changed up the skirt just a tad and did a round of V stitches near the bottom. I also added a round of picot stitches around the wings to give them a little extra fancy. 


 I also thought it could use a little extra sparkle so I used a thread with a strand of silver woven into it for the wings and halo. 
you can't really see the sparkle..

Over all it was much easier than I thought working with thread this small would be (especially with children around). Honestly, my biggest fear was getting it dirty. White and I just aren't friends.

Starching it was a bit of a pain too. I used a couple of coats of spray starch on both the angel and her wings before I sewed them on.

letting the starch dry

To keep her shape I taped a ring of newspaper around a wine bottle and covered it with plastic bags and i cinched her waist with a little bit of yarn then just let her dry outside.

After I put the wings on I used a 1/3 white glue and 2/3 water solution in a spray bottle and soaked her really good, letting her dry a bit and shaping her as I went. After she dried a bit I took her off the wine bottle and stuffed the body a bit with a little newspaper. Then I just lay her down on some plastic

I did that so I could rotate her front to back to keep the head and wings in place. I let her dry over night and repeated the glue/water soaking and even hung her upside down for a bit to keep her neck straight. Serious pain. Bus SO worth it.

finished front


For the finishing touches I improvised a little green sash and bow and we're calling this project done! Isn't she lovely, despite my poor photography skills?!

Monday, 23 April 2012

One for the mommies

So, this is proving to be more of a blog to flog (hehe) my general craftiness. I'm a little slow on adding new posts. I wish I could every day but I can't. Why? Simple, I'm a mom.

You all know what I'm talking about. I've got 2 under 5. They're wonderful, don't get me wrong but my entire life feels like a complete disaster with these 2 around. The messes, the shouting, the bruises and cuts, the messes, never ending laundry and just the chaos that never ends.  All the time .

Just this morning, after cleaning up a pile of  "leaves" (greens) off the floor, I was on my way back to my chair to finish my coffee and the half of a left over toaster waffle that I call breakfast I stepped on a juicebox... I'd just given it to the little one too. I didn't even pick it up I just sighed and kept walking. Awesome right?

I don't even know what this post is about anymore, in the 10 minutes since I've sat down to write this I've pulled my youngest off the kitchen table, gotten a cup of milk, cleaned up some cereal and it sounds like I'm going to have to get the youngest off the kitchen table again. 

I love them.  

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Those amazing crochet shorts! Free charts and written patterns of the motifs!

DISCLAIMER!This is not a project for a beginner in any way. Nor is it for the faint of heart. You're going to need a good working knowledge of crochet and garment making to pull this off. Or, just great big balls and a hell of a lot of patience. I don't have any actual patterns for these bad boys. I will share with you what I've figured out on my own, but that's all I can do. I haven't gotten them finished yet but I'm working on these.

So, these shorts keep popping up on pinterest. Aren't they pretty? They're also about $150 from letarte swimwear. Madness!

I've also been seeing a lot of 'where can I get this pattern'? I don't think you can.. But I will GIVE you the next best thing. I will give you the chart that I found (I can't remember where) for the pretty circles and I will accompany that with a written pattern for said chart. (I wrote this out myself, I did test it but it may need a correction or 2. Let me know, k?)

I'm also going to give you a written step by step of the bottom bit, which is just a pineapple motif, you may need to adjust the number of stitches involved to match the motif in the shorts (I counted 7 TR in the first round)
The first bit, the waist band is super easy, Just single crochet until the chain is as long as your waist (or hips-wherever you want them to sit) is wide. Then continue on back and forth until your piece is as wide as you like it. Remember you're going to fold it over and sew it into a tube for the ribbon to tie your finished shorts. It looks like they do a round of shell stitches along one edge of the waistband as well.

The next bit is just a bunch of these pretty circles:

Notes. join each round,
R1: 12 DC in magic ring. join.
R2: Ch 3 dc in same (counts as 2). 2 in each around (24).
R3: ch 3, 2 dc in same stitch (cluster) **Ch 2, 3DC in next stitch** (Repeat around)
Join last cluster to ch3 (don't chain 2 after)
R4:Ch 6, slst to ch2 space, **Ch 5 slst to space** last stitch is Ch2 & join to ch6.
R5:  Ch 6, 5 DC in Chain space, ch 5, 5 dc in same ch Space,
**Ch 5 slst next sp 3 times, ch 5, 5 dc in next ch space, ch 5 sc in same ch space** repeat 5 times,
last stitch is Ch 5 slst next sp 3 times. join.
fasten off.

The next bit is pineapple motifs. Upside-down and right side up.
I counted 7 Trebles in the shorts but the closest chart I could find has 9, So it'll do.

Written instructions are as follows:

R1:Chain 4 (counts as first double crochet).
R2:Work (1 double crochet, chain 2, 2 double crochet) all in the 4th chain from the hook.
R3:Chain 4 to turn (counts as first treble), work 6 trebles in the chain-2 space.
R4:Chain 4 to turn (counts as first treble), skip first treble, work (chain 1, treble) in each treble across, ending with the last treble worked in the top of the chain-4.Turn.
R5: Work (chain 3, single crochet) in the first chain-1 space, (chain 3, single crochet) in each chain-1 space across. Turn.
R6: Skip the first chain-3 space, work (chain 3, single crochet) in each chain-3 space across.Turn.
 R7:Skip the first chain-3 space, work (chain 3, single crochet) in each chain-3 space across (you will have one less chain-3 space at the end of each row).
On following rows, continue to repeat step 7; eventually you will have a row with only one chain-3 in that row. Fasten off.

Well, there it is, folks. Good luck! 
EDIT: I recently saw a link to this page which shows the construction of these shorts using circle motifs. I would imagine you might find it helpful.
Also I finally found the post I saved the chart for the circle motif from right here

Friday, 6 April 2012

Homemade yogourt, Almond milk style! (and make your own greek yogourt)

So, lately I've been seeing lots of make your own yogourt posts on blogs and websites. Awesome.
The basic method is to give your milk (about 4 cups) a little boil then cool it down to a baby bath temperature, then you add 2 tbsp of any yogourt with live bacteria cultures and maintain that warm temperature for 8-12 hours(I put a container in a bowl of warm water, in the oven just below the 150F setting) and taadaaa! Yogourt!

But, I can't have dairy (lactose intoler-boo!) I drink almond milk. It's super yum.  Searching the interwebs for a method of making yogourt with almond milk brings results that generally involve crazy things like making your own almond milk using arrowroot powder to thicken and using yogourt  starters from health food stores. Which is great, but I'm not going to do that. I don't buy those things regularly and I don't intend on doing so JUST to make yogourt. Not when I have store bought almond milk in the fridge and a 90% lactose free yogourt I picked up on super sale. So we improvise.

What I did:
I used 2 cups of almond milk and 1 tbsp of the yogourt
gave the milk a little steam and cooled it down then stirred in the yogourt and transferred it over to a container. Which I placed in my bowl of water in the oven then I just left it alone overnight. (about 12 hours).
When it came out though, it was basically liquid. Almond milk doesn't thicken so well. So I cheated and added some vanilla pudding mix and stuck it in the fridge for a few hours.
That didn't thicken it enough so I decided to switch up my methods and turn it into a Greek yogourt.

Did you know you can make your own Greek yogourt? Seriously, out of any old yogourt, either your home made stuff or that tub you picked up on sale. You see, Greek yogourt is just a thicker, creamier version of the regular stuff. It's just had most of the liquid strained out. Neat huh? All you need is a strainer with a container underneath it (to catch the liquid) and a cheesecloth (fold it in half, twice).  If you don't have a cheese cloth you can also use a coffee filter. I used a coffee filter.

How to make Greek yogourt:
Put your cheese cloth or coffee filter in the strainer, put the strainer in a bowl or over a container to catch the water.
Dump your yogourt in and be patient. Once it's a consistency you like just pour it on back into it's container and put it back in the fridge. Enjoy.

Final results are that while very tasty, the almond milk yogourt is still very thin. Almond milk just doesn't thicken. What I'm going to do next time to solve this problem is just use  a bit of corn starch and water boiled into the almond milk to thicken it. Then I'll cool it and carry on as normal. The pudding mix works fine, I just don't like vanilla and would rather it plain.

Let me know how yours turns out.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Another quick word on Burt's bees sensitive skin cleanser

I was gushing about bzzagent and my bzzkit for the Burt's bee's campaign a few days ago. The moisturiser, specifically.
It's been a few days of using the cleanser and moisturiser morning and night and I just wanted to say a big WOW. My winter skin is actually happy. I'm not red or flaky/bumpy on my cheeks, nose and forehead and even my breakouts are calming down a lot faster than normal.

However, even after just a few days it already feels like a little TOO much. A bit too much moisture, if I use both the moisturiser and cleanser continually I end up feeling almost waxy and greasy, which is a common problem for me when it comes to skin care.

Usually I'm a spectrojel kind of girl. I use their moisturiser and cleanser every day but in the winter we all need just a little extra. I think I will start using Burt's cleanser with the spectro moisturiser in the morning it just feels lighter on my face in the day and will use my specrtojel cleanser and the Burt's moisturiser at night. It's supposed to be a "daily" moisturiser as this line has a night cream as well (don't tell the moisturiser police) but I just find it a little too heavy.
Yay bzzagent!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Newborn Hammock photography prop/toy hammock - FREE crochet pattern

Something that I haven't really posted about just yet it the whole crochet thing, I've mentioned that it's something I do, every day.

I'm self taught and have been doing it for about 5 years now and a big part of my own personal crochet experience has been  a lot of figuring out, trial and error style and designing/writing my own patterns which I don't often share because I firmly believe it isn't a difficult thing to do and anyone can do it. Crochet is such a beautifully versatile art form. There are really no set way to do it. That's what makes it so fantastic and infuriating! The downside is largely that it can get confusing for a beginner. There are several different abbreviations for the same things (DEC, SC2TOG/European vs US) there are several different methods to achieve the same effect (magic ring, anyone?) but this is part of what makes it so easy to develop your own style and method of operation.  It might just take some getting used to but with practice and some research you can start to figure out your own way of doing things.

Anyhow rant aside lets get on with the pattern, shall we?
The reason I'm posting this is because you can find almost anything if you search the interwebs hard enough, free patterns are everywhere. What I haven't really found yet are little hammock photo props. So I started working one out.  Feel free to make changes as you wish.
I'll find pictures I swear! For now, check out the first version of this hammock (I added the long, thick "tails" for ties as apposed to loops) at my craftsy page

I used:
 6mm hook
P hook ( 16mm ) OR extra large 'speed hook" (19mm- one of those big, grey suckers)
3 strands of baby yarn held together (3 balls- I just used some extra yarn and don't really know how much I used. Sorry)

***Please note, this is mostly to be used as a guide and is kind of a work in progress.Please feel free to alter and tweak as you like. I just wanted to be able to share a practical free pattern for a hammock photo prop***

Worked in rows -CH1 & turn at the end of each row
with 6mm hook Ch6
Sc in second ch from hook, SC across (5)
 Sc across until piece is 2-3 inches in length.
When you get to the desired lengths DC VERY LOOSELY across
Switch to giant hook.
Sc across Ch2
hdc across, ch 2
2dc in each across, ch1
sc across ch1
2sc in each across ch2
dc across ch1
*sc in next 4. 2 sc in next* repeat across, ch2
hdc across, ch1
sc, across, ch2
hdc across, ch1
*sc in next 4, sc2tog* repeat across, ch2
hdc across, ch1
sc across, ch2
hdc across, ch1
sc2tog across, ch2
sc ub eacg across, ch1
dc2tog across, ch2
hdc across ch1,
sc across

switch back to smaller hook and sc across back an forth until you have a little "tail" the same length as the first one (2-3 inches).

The two skinny parts will be used as "ties" So make them as long as you think will need them.

If you don't crochet. I sell these bad boys for $10.00 each here
DO NOT sell my pattern. You may sell things from my pattern I'd love it if you link me.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

I dyed my hair blue!

No, you can't see a picture.
I found manic panic at walmart for $6.00 in blue and purple.
I'm a sucker for manic panic. So I bought some, with the intent of waiting and lightening my hair up a bit before putting fun colors in it. I just dyed my hair "dark blonde" (brown), so I knew blue wouldn't be the most awesome choice...
Cue lack of impulse control and absolute excitement. and you get a weird brown/green/blue color that only took in some places. There are still brown bits poking through and I look ridiculous. This is coming from a chick who's rocking a dread locked,tangled mess of mo-hawk with bangs to begin with. At 25.
I'm kind of in love with it though. I'm debating at putting some of that purple in there for the parts that didn't take or maybe just more blue and hoping for the best.
Or maybe I'll just wait for it to wash out and lighten it like I was planning.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Newspaper seedling pots! Aka I love me some pinterest.

Like every other mom/crafter/woman in the modern world. I am completely in love with pinterest, if you don't know what pinterest is. Just do yourself a favor and clicky clicky on that link and just go check it out. Enter anything you want into that search bar. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Right?! If you want to, you can even follow my pins it's mostly crochet and crafty things. Anyhoo, my love of pinterest led me to the idea of making little flower pots out of a sheet of newspaper by rolling it around the can. King of perfect for the seedlings I have started. I usually just use an old egg carton to start them off but I like this option as well as you can get a bigger plant going before you put it in the ground. And just like egg cartons you can just shove the newspaper pots in the ground when it's time. I'd imagine they're going to be plenty easy to break apart if I need to as well. Exciting.
You can find the tutorial over at Cottage Hill's pretty amazing blog