Archive | April, 2013

Shells and Scales

30 Apr

I found the  Lion Brand Yarn website the other day, it has a great stitch finder on it that has heaps of blocks and motifs for free. I want to expand my crochet repertoire, so I thought I would try some of these.   The site has American stitches, so, if like me you use UK stitches you will need to translate the patterns.                                                                                                       Textured Stripes Crochet BlockThis scale block is what I wanted to make but I really struggled with the pattern, it just didn’t make sense to me.                                                                                                                                              So I settled on a slightly easier shell pattern…. Here is my attempt.                                                                                                                image  I didn’t want the wavy top like in the block in the picture so I finished off with a row of double crochet with 2 half trebles in the low points. It was fairly easy and I feel I got better with each row, initially I wasn’t sure if I was putting the shell stitches in the right spot. I like the way the verigated yarn made the shells stand out more. I like this stitch and I think it could be very versatile.

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A bit of Monday Morning Inspiration

29 Apr

As much as I am loving crochet right now, sometimes I feel it can look kitchy and dated, and it doesn’t really fit in with the design aesthetic I have envisioned for my home. With this in mind I began Googling “modern crochet” last night and I discovered something amazing!

Free form crochet! If yo have never heard of or seen this before you may be asking what is free form crochet? Well this is how the International Free Form Crochet Guild describe it…..

What is freeform?

Freeform crochet is like painting – the hook is a brush and the yarn a paint. 
The result can be abstract or realistic. 
Freeform is original design, not a reproduction of another person’s pattern, 
– it goes beyond the realm of patterns and restrictions that usually apply toward our art. 
The outcome is a piece of art like no other, not only functional, but beautiful as well. 
Freeform includes 2-D and 3-D art, clothing and useful items.

Here are some examples of free form crochet….

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As you can see it is more like an artwork, and can take a variety of forms. This sort of crochet really grabs my attention and caters to my crazy need for colour, sparkle and texture! What do you think? Has anyone out there tried this and do you have any tips?

This find left my head spinning last night and a little crazy thought popped in there…”I wonder if it is possible to felt crochet?” So of course the first thing I did when I woke up was Google felted crochet and guess what? It exists! I have never felted anything in my life, although I have always wanted to, it is something that I find somewhat daunting, I don’t know why because it looks fairly straight forward and easy.

Here is how felted crochet looks…..

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I like how these flowers in the bowl look like they are not fully felted and still retain some of their crocheted self.

I was worried when I started this blog that all the creativity I had when I was younger had long dried up but it seems that it has returned, my brain works overtime these days thinking of all the crazy projects that I want to attempt, I am going to have to get organised and make a plan of attack so that all these ideas become reality!

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T-shirts, Pouffs and Entry ways.

26 Apr

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Recently I saw this sweet entry way on Pinterest, and immediately I was in love.

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I thought, “when I eventually get an entry way in my house this is how I want it to look.”

Then, through a bit of Googling, I found these cute little crocheted pouffs

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and another site on tshirt yarn.

The next logical thought was, “I am going to make one of these little pouffs out of t shirt yarn to put in my non existent entry way.”

Yesterday I cleaned out Duckmans clothes so I had a bag full of little t-shirts  with which to practice making t-shirt yarn.

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First, you need to cut off the bottom hem and the top bit just under the sleeves.

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Then fold the shirt in half leaving about an inch allowance.

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Then you need to cut strips, probably about and inch or so wide, if it is too thin the fabric will snap later on, and don’t cut the allowance.

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Now, open it up so that the uncut bit is in the middle.

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To turn this into one long strip of fabric make diagonal cuts from one strip down to the next one.

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After this you should end up with one long continuous strip.

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Now for the fun part….pull and stretch the strip so that it lengthens (extra yarn…yay) and curls in on itself.

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It is best to use t-shirts with out side seams if you can, otherwise you will end up with bumpy bits like these…

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but since this was just a practice run I wasn’t  worried.

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This was quick and easy to do. I think I will now be scouring the op shops for some old seamless t-shirts to upcycle so that I can get started on my pouff. Oh and I also might have to get Mr Minx to finish renovating the front of my house so that I have an entry way to put it in!

Anzac Bikkies get a Minxy makeover

24 Apr

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So, a few weeks ago I wrote about being on a 30 day sugar ban, well I decided to end it early, 11 days early in fact. It went well except for a small slip up around day 8.

The reason I decided to bring sugar back was so that I could eat ANZAC Bikkies. With tomorrow being ANZAC Day there is nothing better to do than scoff down an Australian favourite.

For those of you who don’t know what ANZAC is, it stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and on ANZAC Day we remember all those who fought to keep our country free, and we get a lovely day off work!

Yesterday The Rooster asked if we could make ANZAC bikkies and how could I refuse, so here they are.

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These biscuits were made in war time without the addition off egg which was in short supply, they keep well and were often made to send to loved ones who were away fighting

125g butter

2 tbsp golden syrup

1 cup of packed brown sugar

`1 cup of plain flour

3/4 cup coconut

1/2 tsp bicarb soda

1 cup oats

2 tbsp water

and our sneaky little non traditional addition 3/4 cup of white choc chips

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Cut the butter into cubes and add to a medium saucepan

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Add the golden syrup, I think all of Nundah were making these also, the supermarket was out of golden syrup so we had to substitute some treacle

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Stir over medium heat until combined

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It should look like this and smell like decadent caramelly goodness

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Next, add the dry ingredients

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Stir until combined, add some water if needed to so that the mixture is nice and smooth

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The Rooster wanted to add some white choc chips, you don’t have to add these, they are not traditional, or you could choose to add some other non traditional items, like chopped nuts, glace or dried fruit.

Due to the heat in the mixture the choc chips melted and created a marbled effect in the biscuit.

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Roll level tbsp of mixture and place on a baking sheet. Give them plenty of room to grow!

Then bake for around 15 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius or a bit longer if you like a crunchy bikkie.

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When they come out of the oven they will be very gooey so let them cool, this is hard.

Once they have cooled feel free to indulge.

These have been a huge hit in my house tonight, they are so delicious it is hard to stop at one!

Blast off to fun!

22 Apr

 

 

 

 Last week, with some inspiration from Roylco, The Minimen and I thought rockets would be a fun thing to make.

It was super easy and so much fun. Here is how we did it.

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We used toilet rolls, foil, coloured paper and sticky tape.

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We fit one toilet roll into the other to make a long rocket body.

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Covered them in foil.

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Cut a circle from paper, cut into the centre of it to fold it around into a cone shape.

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We cut some flames and other shapes for doors and windows and stuck them all on our rockets.

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Ta-Da….A rocket.

The Minimen ran around the house playing rockets for quite a while.
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I tried to get a photo of them playing but this blurry action shot was the best I could do.

This was a great project, and it ticked all the boxes for me on kids activities, cheap, quick, easy and engaging for multiple age groups, and it gave me a few peaceful moments to do a bit of crochet while they ran around with their rockets.

 

 

 

Flower Power and Toddler Taming

18 Apr

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You might remember I created some homemade paper last week.

My purpose for this paper and future paper is to make some beautiful paper flowers to decorate things like gifts.

Today I decided to sit down and work on some prototypes.

I have taken inspiration from all the little crochet flowers that I have been making this week.

These are what I have come up with, They are a little rough as they were quickly put together while trying to wrangle a very tired Duckman off the table, away from the scissors, sticky tape, out of my bag and clean up a pile of glue I spilled.

With some more time, thought and some different coloured paper, I may just be able to realise my homemade paper flower dreams.

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Cheesy Fish Crackers

18 Apr

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Yesterday, in between 5, yes 5, loads of laundry, and a trip to the dentist for a bit of root canal I found time to whip up these yummy cheese crackers for The Minimen’s afternoon snack.

I found the recipe here, it was an American recipe so I had to do a bit of translating

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The ingredients are

8oz vintage cheddar grated( I used almost all of a 250g block of cheese)

1/2 a stick of butter ( if Googles conversion is correct this is about 50g)

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup of plain flour

2 tbs chilled water

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First I put the cheese, butter and salt in a bowl, and mixed together till smooth. My poor old electric beaters did not like doing this very much, they made many noises of complaint, but eventually it all combined.

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This is what it looked like

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Then I mixed in the flour, the dough was quite crumbly as you can see above.

Then I added the water and mixed that in, but it left the dough very sticky, so I added flour and kneaded it until it came together in a gorgeous doughy ball of cheesy goodness.

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This is my dough….it needs to be refrigerated for at least an hour now.

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After taking it out of the fridge roll it very thinly on a lightly floured surface, you can cut it into squares or use a small cutter to make shapes, I chose some cute little fishies to try and entice The Minimen into eating them.

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Other than that I think they taste very similar to store bought cheese biscuits. The Rooster tried them and then turned his nose up, but I expected that. I got a better response from Duckman, who has eaten a bowl full of them.

Using the vintage cheddar gives them probably more of an adult flavour, a milder cheddar might be  a better option if faced with fussy eaters. Or you could keep the vintage and add some dried herbs to create a cracker that would be a perfect accompaniment to some wine and antipasto when you have a kid free moment.

A fast friendship is being forged

17 Apr

 I think that crochet and I have finally turned a corner. I am really enjoying learning and teaching myself with small projects like the fingerless gloves I made over the weekend.

I found the pattern here. It was the perfect beginner project to learn the treble stitch.
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I made two rectangles using treble stitch, folded them in half and whip stitched them together leaving a space for my thumb.

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And here is the end result, they are sort of cute, but I can’t really see myself ever wearing them, but I now know what a treble is and feel confident doing it.

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It is crazy that after so many failed attempts at learning to crochet, that finally I am enjoying it and I want to do more and learn more.

But first, I need to get some new wool, I am so sick of everything being multicoloured and yellow. I might take a trip to the shops today.

Another cute little flower

17 Apr

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This one is also from attic24

First attempt at crochet flowers

16 Apr

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While Mr Minx was out at soccer and The Minimen were occupied with a movie I thought I would give flower making a go.

This is my first attempt at flowers, the pattern is care of Attic24, check out her site, it is pretty awesome!

Anyway, my flower is definitely not as good as hers and somehow I ended up with only 6 petals in both the second and third layer when I should have had 7. I am going to continue making these until I have mastered them.  This took me maybe a couple of hours, I really didn’t really pay attention to the time I started.

I have discovered that I am really bad at remembering to work my ends in as I go and end up having to weave them in and it looks a bit messy. This is something that I will have to work on.

There is also a cute leaf to go with it.

These would make a super sweet addition to a hat or scarf or could be made into a brooch, I even have plans to use them in gift wrapping once they are perfect.

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