Monday, September 30, 2013

Recipe - Choc Nana Muffins

Good morning people!

Today's recipe is for a rich chocolate banana muffin. Its a nice solid yet moist muffin that packs a chocolatey punch!

1 and a 1/2 cups of SR flour
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup brown sugar
2TBS cocoa powder
2 small to medium bananas

1. Mash the banana and the brown sugar together and set aside.
2. Add the flour and cocoa powder to a bowl and mix.
3. Add egg, milk and butter to the dry mix and stir to combine.
4. Add the banana mix and fold in gently.
Place spoonfuls into prepared muffin trays (I use silicone ones) and bake for 15 minutes at 180c or until a skewer comes out clean.

These taste great both warm and cold so if you can't resist waiting, by all means eat one warm.
For a less in your face chocolate hit cut the cocoa powder back to 1 tablespoon. I got 18 large muffins from this mix.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Recipe - Packet mix to tropical cupcakes

Hello hello!

Today's post is a little easy trick and recipe. We'll use a basic vanilla cake mix and add some zaazaazoom to make it into delectable tropical cupcakes!

I use super basic super cheap mixes when Im running short on time and just want to hurl things at a bowl without too much worry. These types of recipes are also great starting points for anyone thats a beginner or not quite so confident in the kitchen.
I use Coles homebrand vanilla buttercake packet mix. Its 99 cents. You can't beat that!

Yes, yes that IS a Christmas tray. I should probably invest in some non christmasy ones!

You will need:
1 small lemon - Zest and juice
1 small orange - Zest and juice
1 vanilla cake mix + the ingredients it says to add.

yellow and red food colourings
1/2 tsp coconut essence
2 TBS coconut
40g butter or margarine
100g icing sugar

Mix the packet mix as per the directions. Grate the rind off of both the lemon and orange, and then squeeze the juice from each into the batter. Stir well. Spoon into patty cases (Mine come from Shiploads, $1.90 a pack)
Bake as per instructions on the pack, which is usually about 25-30 minutes on 180c. You'll know they are done when a skewer comes out clean.
Let cool completely before icing.

In a bowl put the margarine and icing sugar. Beat with a blender. Add 3-4 drops of yellow food colouring, 2 drops of red food colouring, the coconut essence. Beat it a little more, if it is too thick add a slight amount of water, 1/2 tsp at a time, too thin, some more icing sugar, 1tbs at a time. I aim for an almost butterlike consistency.
Spread the icing on top of the cupcake and sprinkle with a little coconut.

Thats it! You just turned a boring 99cent cakemix into a tasty tropical mouthsplosion! Yum!

The flavours you can make with a packet mix are endless, try some other combinations!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Crochet socks for preemies and full term babies

Hello hello!

Finally happy to be back with a new pattern for everyone. Im super excited about this one too!
SOCKS! Well, bootie style socks at least. These ones come in a variety of sizes, so please ready the instructions.

For 26-28 weeks you will need 4ply (fingering or light sport weight) yarn and a 4mm hook.
For 28-32 weeks you will need 8ply (dk weight) yarn and a 3mm hook
For 32-36 weeks you will need 8ply (dk weight) yarn and a 4mm hook
For 38-40 weeks and 0-3 months 8ply (dk weight) yarn and a 4.5mm hook

You will need a main and a contrasting colour. These booties use very little yarn so wonderful for scrapbusting.

For all sizes with the correct yarn weight and hook size: Starting with your contrasting colour:

R1: Ch2, hdc 8 times into the first chain, join. (8)
R2: Ch2, hdc twice in each stitch around, join. (16)
End contrasting colour and join main colour
R3: Ch2, hdc in each stitch around, join. (16)
R4-5: Repeat R3
R7: Ch2, hdc in the next 10 stitches, turn. (10)
R8-9: Repeat R7 (10)
R9: For 32-36, 38-40 and 0-3 Months Only: Repeat R7
R10: This row is completed along the top of the bootie. (Refer to image below) Work 15 (17 for 32+) hdc stitches evenly in the ends across the top.
R11: ch2, turn, hdc in each stitch across.
End off leaving a tail long enough to sew the heel closed. Sew heel and weave in ends.
Join contrasting colour to any stitch from R11
R12: ch3, dc in each stitch around, join.
R13: Repeat R12.
End off contrasting colour and weave in ends.

Sock completed. Make a second for a pair.


You can also make them in a solid colour, or with only the toe in a contrasting colour.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Spice the Witch - Mini Snuggle

Hello everyone!

Super excited about today's pattern. I said a while ago Id have some more mini snuggles at some point and well, here is one thats just in time for some Halloween fun!

Spice the witch is pretty easy to make, but does have a few fiddly bits. All in all tho, any beginner should be able to make her.

You will need:
DK weight yarn in cream, black, green, purple and a small amount of red
3mm and 5mm hooks
2 safety eyes
small amount of stuffing
stitch marker

Head: With 3mm and cream
1: ch2, sc 6 times in the first , place marker
2: 2sc in each stitch around (12)
3: *sc in the first stitch, 2sc in the next* Repeat around (18)
4: *sc in the first 2 stitches, 2sc in the next stitch* Repeat around (24)
5-7: sc in each stitch around
Insert eyes around rounds 4-5
8: *sc in the next 2 stitches, sc2tg* Repeat around (18)
9: *sc in the next stitch, sc2tg* Repeat around (12)
10: sc2tg 6 times, end off leaving long tail for sewing (6)
Weave yarn in and out of the last 6 stitches and pull tight to gather, tie off but leave the long end to sew the head to the blanket.

Take red yarn and cut into 5 x 35cm lengths. Take the centre of the strands and attatch them to the centre top of the head (see pic) I fold mine in half (centre) and pull the loop through a stitch, then pull the strands through the loop (like adding a braid to a hat). cut 2 more sets of 5 strands and repeat the process, one in front and one behind of the first set you attached.
Split the hair so 5 strands from each of the 3 groups is on one side, and the remaining strands on the other. Braid/plait the hair and tie a not in the end. Cut to length.

Hat: with 3mm and black
1: ch2, sc 5 times in the first chain, place marker (5)
2: sc in each stitch around (5)
3: sc 3, 2sc in the next st, sc (6)
4: sc 2, 2sc in the next st, sc 3 (7)
5: sc 3, 2sc in the next st, sc 3 (8)
6: sc 3, 2sc in the next st, sc 3, 2sc in the next stitch (10)
7: sc in each stitch around (10)
8: *sc, 2sc in the next stitch* Repeat around (15)
9: sc in each stitch around (15)
10: Change to purple, sc in each stitch around (15)
11: Change to green, sc in each stitch around (15)
12: Change to black, ch2, 2dc in each stitch around, join. (30)
End off leaving a long tail. Sew hat to top of dolls head.

Blanket: 5mm hook and starting with black
1: ch4, join
2: In the ch4 loop, ch3, dc twice, ch2, *dc 3 times, ch2*, repeat twice more, join.

3: sl st in the next dc and then into the ch2 space. (ch3, 2dc, ch2, 3dc) in the ch2 space, *ch1, (3dc, ch2, 3dc) in the next ch2 space* Repeat twice more, join.

4:  sl st in the next dc and then into the ch2 space. (ch3, 2dc, ch2, 3dc) in the ch2 space, *ch1, (3dc, ch2, 3dc) in the next ch2 space, ch1, 3dc in the next ch1 space* Repeat twice more, join. End off black.

5: Join purple to a corner.  Into the ch2 space. (ch3, 2dc, ch2, 3dc) in the ch2 space, *ch1, (3dc, ch2, 3dc) in the next ch2 space, ch1, 3dc in the next ch1 space, ch1, 3dc into the next ch1 space* Repeat twice more, join. End purple.

6: Join black in a corner. Into the ch2 space. (ch3, 2dc, ch2, 3dc) in the ch2 space, *ch1, (3dc, ch2, 3dc) in the next ch2 space, ch1, 3dc in the next ch1 space, ch1, 3dc into the next ch1 space, ch1, 3dc into the next ch1 space* Repeat twice more, join. End black.

7: Join green yarn into the middle stitch of any 3dc cluster on a side. ch3, dc 3 more times in the same stitch, *sl st into the next ch1 space, skip 1dc, and do 5dc into the 2nd (middle) stitch of the next 3dc cluster* Repeat around, when you get back to the start, do 1dc into the same stitch the ch3 is in and join to the top of the chain 3. End off and weave in ends.

Sew the head onto the blanket.
Embroider a mouth on the doll.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Recipe - Mixed Berry Muffins


Well, today I have something completely different from my normal posts and I hope you'll enjoy this. I've been playing around in the kitchen working on some recipes!

I LOVELOVE to bake, I always have. I usually throw things together without paying too much attention to writing anything down. Its either a hit, or a miss. Basically anything that gives me a min of 3 thumbs up from the kids and my partner is a winner. I thought I'd start sharing these with you guys.

Todays recipe, and indeed my first to share, is for some mixed berry muffins. I use a tin of mixed berries for this. Its just at the end of winter here in Aus, so no fresh berries yet.

1 egg
1/3 cup milk
2 cups SR flour
1/2 TBS baking powder
60g butter, melted
pinch of salt
3/4 cup berries and 2/3 cup juice from the can of mixed berries

Preheat oven to 180c
Makes roughly 18 muffins.

1. Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and mix them together.
2. Add all wet ingredients except the berries and mix until just combine.
3. Add in the mixed berries and gently combine so you don't break the berries up too much.
4. Spoon into a greased silicone muffin tray (or patty cases or a metal muffin tray. I prefer silicone-ware) and bake at 180c for about 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Turn onto a cooling rack and let sit until completely cooled before putting them away.

Thats it. The mix itself will look kinda gooey and slimy but thats fine. If you think the mix is too moist just add a little more flour, a tablespoon at a time.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

My little Frankie

Today's post, and pattern, are both equally hard to write. I know that for some, this will be a hard read. For that reason alone, Ill be posting the pattern first. I understand if you don't wish to read on, but I am equally thankful for anyone that does. This hat, is not for a baby to wear, but more as a keepsake, an acknowledgement, a comfort.

My little Frankie

You will need:
2ply/3ply (Lace/light fingering weight yarn)
2mm hook

R1: Ch3, hdc 8 times in the first chain, join.
R2: Ch2, hdc twice in each stitch around, join.
R3-5: Ch2, hdc in each stitch around, join.
R6: ch1, sc in each stitch around join.

Make a very small pompom and attach to the top.

I know you are probably looking at this hat and wondering why on earth would there ever be a need for such a tiny tiny hat. A hat that fits on the tip of a womans finger. Why?

Well, let me tell you.
3 weeks ago, I pee'd on a stick and that stick told me TADAA you are having a baby! After a long time of trying, it was a moment of excitement, of joy, of happy. A dream of future things and little smiles and tiny toes to blow raspberries on. Quickly, take another test! We have to make sure this is right! 3 sticks and a blood test later, and we'd confirmed that we were indeed having a baby! We nicknamed it Frankie. We told very few people, we wanted to wait a little.

2 weeks ago, the dreams were pushed to the backburner as anxiety set in and I started with some light spotting. No worries, Im thinking. A lot of women spot, some even have entire periods while pregnant! I can deal with this. The next day it was a little heavier, and I decided ok, gotta go get this checked out.
After a lengthy ER visit with my bestie, I had bloods done and a scan and discovered I was 5 weeks, 2 days along and my tiny little Frankie, was in a little itty sack all of 5cm.
Go home, they said. Take it easy. We wont know much but you know a lot of women do spot, if you get crampy or pass clots come back.

On Monday this week, at 6 weeks, 1 day, I sat again in the ER awaiting blood results.

I became a member of a community that to date, Id only supported.

The lady doctor who'd been treating me walks over to where I am sitting in a crowded waiting room. I knew, I knew the second she came over. Every other person was just called out to, and they stood and went. No, she walked over, clipboard in hand. She says to me "Would you like the results here or do you wish to go to elsewhere?"
I knew. I knew and I was angry. Angry that she had thought that it was an ok thing to break the news that my little baby was gone in a packed waiting room. Packed, as in, no sitting room wall to wall people wedged in like sardines. How the heck did she think that was an ok thing to ask?

So I reply with "Id like to go somewhere else, obviously!"

No, we didn't get lead to a room. We got led to a seat at a table in the kiosk, and there she told me that unfortunately it was not good news, my hormone levels were dropping and that there would be no baby.
I'd knew, Id guessed and now Id had confirmation. I wont say I took it ok, I bawled, and I sobbed, and I had the whole snot running down your face thing going on and she just sat there not saying a word.
Once I manage to regain some sort of composure she tells me "It was so early that you wont need any procedure. Go home, let nature take its course, go see your GP in 2-3 days" and with that she stood, shuffled her papers on her clipboard and left.

No time to ask questions. No support. No anything.
In a cruel twist of irony Id left that hospital in the one way Ive spent the last 2 years working against. Empty. With empty hands and an empty heart. I wasn't even offered a flier on grief, or a support group. Nothing.

Its hard to know what to write. I lost Frankie. We lost Frankie. Frankie had passed on. Nothing really sounds right, nothing made sense. What I do know, is I have not lost my fight to change the way early loss and loss in general is dealt with. For a brief moment, I had a baby. It was real, it was there. It was tiny and loved and so very wanted from the very second that line turned blue, it was wanted. Noone has the right to dismiss that like it is nothing and noone, noone ever, should leave the hospital empty handed. I can promise you, I will fight like heck to change that!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Mini tampon wallet

Morning peeps!

Another sanitary wallet today. This one came about while trying to find ways to use up some variegated yarns. I LOVE the colours in them, but Im often unimpressed with how they crochet up and as a result have heaps of these barely used balls of variegated. Time to do something with them all!

This itty little wallet will hold 2 regular and 2 mini tampons and its super quick to work up.

You will need:
DK weight (8ply) yarn
3mm hook
1 button

ch12, sc in the second chain from hook and each across to the second last, in that do 2sc, on the opposite side of the chain stitches work sc's back across to the end, and one sc in the very last stitch, do not join.

We'll be working in rounds now, sc in each stitch around until your piece measures 6cm. Fold your pouch flat and mark off the middle 9 stitches on one long side. These will be your closing flap. sc till you get to the last of the 9 stitches you marked.

Ch1, turn, sc 9.
ch1, turn, sc 9
ch1, turn, sc2tg, sc in the next 5, sc2tg
ch1, turn, sc 7
ch1, turn, sc in the first 3 stitches, ch2 (or ch3 if you are using a larger button), sc in the last 3 stitches.

Finish off, weave in all ends. Add the button and your done!