Thursday, 4 December 2014

Finally cracked dried orange slices

Hi all


Don't you just love this time of year !

Cosy dark nights and a real crispness in the air - and I'm pleased to report that, after years of trying to master the art of drying fruit slices, I have finally cracked it.

I have had numerous failed attempts in a conventional oven, I usually end up leaving them in too long or am impatient by not cooking them on a low enough heat, so this year, after a lot of searching I found these instructions which uses a microwave, and I have got the most amazing professional looking results

I used a nice quality orange, which was really juicy and very fragrant, and even though they have now dried completely, they still smell lovely

I did have a senior moment and cut the first orange the wrong way - the navel of the orange should be facing out to the side and not at the top, but as I love oranges, it wasn't wasted and went down a treat

I cut mine as thin as I could without harming any fingers along the way, but that is just a personal preference and they look just as good slightly thicker

I found that after microwaving, there was still a lot of surplus juice in the slices.  I used a clean piece of kitchen paper and carefully pressed out as much liquid as I could, without damaging the segments and then put them somewhere warm to dry

With the air-drying part of the process, I kept them as flat as possible and turned them every day to try and stop them curling up too much

Due to the fact that they were thin, mine did only take a couple of days to completely dry out, and haven't shrunk much

They are a perfect partner to cinnamon sticks and are a fab way to spruce up holly

I'm now off to buy some lemon and limes to give them a go

Happy Crafting and let me know how you get on

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Crochet Heart

This is a great pattern for a crochet heart - super easy and really quick.  

Personally when I write patterns, I do so with complete beginners in mind so I apologise for those that are competant crocheters. 

This is worked in UK terms

Start with a magic ring - or if you prefer work a 5 chain and join with a slip stitch to create a ring

If you have started with a magic ring, work a 1ch to secure you work

Work a double crochet and place a stitch marker so you know where the start of your round is

Work a further 9 double crochet into the ring so that you have a total of 10 stitches - Do not join the round 

For the next round you start with 10 stitches and finish with 20,  to achieve this you need to work 2 double crochets into each of the 10 stitches, starting with the stitch with the marker
Do not join round

The heart shape is created by going down one side and up the other and we need to make sure that each side mirrors the other to make the heart symmetrical  

The photo above shows the left hand side sequence which is as follow

slip stitch
miss a space
1 treble, 1 double treble, 1 double treble - all in the same space
1 double treble, 1 double treble, 1 treble - all in the same space
1 half treble
1 half treble
1 half treble
1 double crochet
1 double crochet
1 double crochet

To create the shaping at the bottom of the heart,
work 1 treble, 1 double treble, 1 treble - all in the same space

The above photo shows the sequence up the right hand side of the heart and you will see that I have pulled my magic ring thread to close the hole - make sure that you secure this end by knotting it before sewing and weaving in

1 double crochet
1 double crochet
1 double crochet
1 half treble
1 half treble
1 half treble
1 treble, 1 double treble, 1 double treble - all in the same space
1 double treble, 1 double treble, 1 treble - all in the sae space
then miss a space and slip stitch into the next space

To complete the heart work a slip stitch in each of the 28 stitches around the outside of the heart

You can then do lots with these hearts, make loads and create bunting, sew them onto other projects to make great embellishments or sew two together back to back as below

Hope you have fun creating these adorable hearts and if you need any help, just ask

Happy crocheting 

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Stall Makeover

Today, with the help of my daughter, I have given my stall a make over.  It's placed in a cosy little emporium in West Sussex absolutely full of crafty goodness. I am very proud of the fact that most of the items I am selling have been handmade by myself, from fabric bags to gift bags, snoods, hats, bunting, cards and heaps more

The mini crochet bunting looks sweet across the shelf and has given me inspiration to update the heart edging with mini fabric bunting with the stall name on it, so watch this space

The gift bags are doing well and as we were adjusting the display a lady bought some - very interesting to see peoples taste as she didn't choose the ones I was expecting her to

I love making these bags, as it's great seeing a piece of material turn into something so pretty and useful too

And of course, after all that hard work we had to stop for tea and cake... 

Friday, 7 November 2014

Animal Cupcakes

What a way to completely waste an afternoon! So easy to make, but super fun and effective. All you need is icing, food colouring, marshmallows, chocolate buttons and chocolate chips… oh and some cupcakes.

The pig – these need a teeny bit of red food colouring for the icing (mine could have done with a bit more, it was sort of peachy instead of pink). Cut a marshmallow in half for the ears, use a whole one for the nose and use mini ones for the eyes, and then use the chocolate chips for the final details.

The cow is pure chocolate icing, a chocolate button with a corner cut off for the ears, mini marshmallows for the horns and the eyes and nose detail is the same as the pig.

The sheep are just plain vanilla icing, a white chocolate button quarter cut out for the ears, covered in marshmallows for the fur and again chocolate chips for the eyes.

The teddies can be made using any icing flavour and its features are made up entirely of milk and white chocolate buttons with chocolate drops for the little details.

Go on give them a try and tag me so I can see what animals you have tried!

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Crochet Coaster Pattern

Good evening to you and hope you have had a lovely weekend

I have been busy making coasters and would like to share this pattern I designed with you all.
I would usually crochet these in cotton but it is easier to demonstrate the stitches in acrylic

You can make these up with any ply of wool - it will simply mean that your coasters will be larger or smaller depending on the thickness of yarn and hook you have used, and the great thing is you really don't have to worry too much about your tension

I will apologise now to all you advanced crocheters out there, but I like to write my patterns in such a way that hopefully even novices will be able to use them

 I always use UK terms in my patterns, but you can always search online for a stitch converter

The stitches used are
slip stitch (sl st)
chain stitch (ch)
double crochet (dc)
half treble (htr)
treble (tr)
so if you are able to do these stitches, this will be ideal for you

Right let's get started

With desired yarn and hook, make a magic ring and work 6dc into the centre and join with a slip stitch into the top of the first dc worked (6sts)

Don't worry if you haven't mastered the magic ring yet....... simply make a small chain (about 5 or 6 stitches) and slip stitch into the 1st chain to create a loop and work the dc's into the middle - it will just mean that you will have a hole in the centre of your coaster, which actually some people prefer anyway

 We now need to increase our stitches from 6 to 12 for this round so

work a 3 chain, this will count as the 1st treble of the round and we always do this when working with trebles to create the height for the round

Then work a treble into the base of the 3chain

There will be 5 stitches remaining in this round so work 2 trebles into each of the 5 stitches and join with a slip stitch into the 3rd chain of the chain worked at the beginning (12sts)

Work a slip stitch to the left so that your hook and wool now sit in between the trebles from the previous row. This makes your work look really neat and disguises the transition between the rounds

For this round we need to increase from 12 to 24 sts

work a 3 chain (counts as the 1st treble of the row) and work a treble into the same space

You will have 11 spaces left on this round, so work 2 trebles into each of the spaces and complete the round as usual by slip stitching into the 3rd chain of the chain worked at the beginning (24sts)

In this round we will still have 24 trebles but we get our increase from working 1 chain in between as below

Slip stitch to the left so you start this round in the middle of two trebles

Work a 4 chain this time (counts as 1st treble and a 1ch), work a treble into the same space and you have now created a v stitch

 * 1ch (and missing a space, work the v stitch into the next space (1tr, 1ch, 1tr into the same space = v stitch)* you will now have worked two v stitches as below

 Work from * to * as above until you have completed a total of 12 v stitches, then 1 chain and slip stitch into the 3rd chain of the 4 chain worked at the beginning

For the next round, work a slip stitch to the left into the space in the middle of the v stitch and work a 4 chain (counts as a treble and 1 chain), then   **tr, 1ch, tr into next space, 1ch then treble into next space then 1chain ** and continue the sequence ** to ** ten more times, then tr, 1ch, tr into next space, 1 chain and join with a slip stitch into the 3rd chain of the 4 chain worked at the beginning

In this round you should have a v stitch a treble, a v stitch, a treble and so on

Slip stitch to the left and it should look like pic below

Work a 4 chain (counts as the 1st treble and a 1 chain) ***work a v stitch into the centre of the v stitch in previous round (1tr, 1ch, 1tr in the same space = V stitch), next 1 chain then treble into the next space, 1 chain then treble into the next space, 1 chain *** work from *** to *** ten times, then
(1tr, 1ch, 1tr) in to space, 1ch, then 1tr into next space, 1ch and join with a slip stitch to the 3rd chain of the 4 chain at the beginning of the round

In the next round we are going to create the scalloped edge.  The scallops are only worked in the v stitches from the previous round

 In between each v stitch from the previous round you will see that there are three spaces, we will work a slip stitch into the centre space as indicated by the white arrow in the picture below

In this round we don't work a slip stitch as we are more or less in the centre between the v's and if we work a sl st it will take us too close to the v stitch and make the round look uneven

In the pic above the hook has been placed in the first v stitch, so work the following sequence in that V (1dc,1htr,1tr,1tr,1tr,1htr,1dc) you will be working these 7 stitches into each of the v stitches on this round

In the pic below, I have worked two sequences and worked a slip stitch in the middle space as per the pic above so to recap sequence is (1dc,1htr,1tr,1tr,1tr,1htr,1dc) then a slip stitch in the middle space between the V's

Continue all the way round and complete the round with a slip stitch into the space as indicated below

 Your round once completed should look like this

 To finish your coaster work dc stitches around the edge - in the scallop you will see 7 stitches as indicated below, if you work 1dc into stitches 1, 2 & 3 then 2 dc's into stitch 4 and then 1dc into stitches 5, 6 & 7 your work should lay nice and flat - if you find that it is curling up, you could always do more stitches, perhaps 2dc in stitches 3, 4 & 5 and 1 in all the rest, it really does depend what your tension is like, but just have a play to see what works best for you. Once you have done your dc's into the scallop work a slip stitch in the space in between the scallop as indicated below

 You should finish the round on a slip stitch, so break off yarn, leaving enough to sew in end and pull through to secure, then sew in ends making sure that the centre strand has secured tightly

And that's all there is to it

I hope you  enjoy making these coasters and I would love to see your finished creations, you will find me over on Instragram, there is a link at the top of this page

As ever if you ever need any help or want to ask me any crafty questions, please feel free to do so

Happy crocheting and catch you soon

Monday, 2 June 2014

It's been a while

Hi everyone
Well..... it's been a while since I've been on here, but so much has happened in the last 6 months, one major event, is that after years of trying, we have finally moved ! We have taken on a labour of love in a major project but couldn't be happier.  I have a passion for boots, but the only ones that I have been wearing recently are my wellies. I am pleased to report though that life is getting back to normal and I am once again able to venture into the land of blogging
See you soon - I'll be back !