Thursday 27 March 2014

Candy Giraffe!


I have been so busy the last few weeks making African Flower pieces for the next batch of ordered animals :) 

I had an order for a "non-gendered, colourful" giraffe, and had to think of a way to make such a thing! I decided on using four main colours - pink, blue, yellow and green - and the dark and light version of each colour. How though to work out where to put what colour, and what pieces I needed to make? 

Fortunately, I had just finished a giraffe for another order, so I cut up some paper into little squares and coloured them in with each colour. Then, with some glee, I stuck pins in the pink giraffe!

I had to add a 5th colour - plain purple - to fill in some spots where I just couldn't avoid having two pieces of the same colour together.

Here is the work so far! I am totally loving the colour combination. What do you think I should call it? Suggestions so far are "Candy Mix" or "Sherbet Bomb" :)

I'll make sure to post a picture when he's finished!


Here's the finished Candyman :)

Saturday 22 March 2014


Each year there is a HUGE expo for all kind of creative stuff in Dortmund: the Creativa. This year, I was able to go - Hurray the expo halls are just down the road from my house! Lucky me!
I spent a couple of hours browsing with a friend and spent more money than I intended to. Of course. :P
We got there early and thus I had time to talk to some of the stall people. At the stall of Ulrike Helrich from Eiderstedter Garnkontor I was in heaven. Soo much yummy yarn and all of it from Scandinavia. I adore yarn from Scandinavia but it is a bit tricky to get. This yarn shop sells it online though and I think I will become a good costumer... I just hope I didn't drool too much on the yarn.
I was gifted two balls of yummy yarn:

The grey one is "Blend Bamboo". It's 70 % bamboo and 30 % cotton. Oh and my god, it is sooo soft. Not sure what I will make with it but I am thinking in the lines of baby shoes.
The red one is "Alpaca Silk". It's 60 % alpaca, 30 % merino and 10 % silk. Also very soft - I can't stop holding it to my cheek to feel it! I adore the color - don't you? I think this yarn ball will become arm warmers and if I like the feel I might order more (of the same color of course) and make a jacket.
I also got a color chart for a different yarn (Incawool). I never had a color chart before but it looks brilliant for color mixing for new projects! I kind of wish I had bought some of the yarns at the stall... Sigh. I reckon I need to order sooonnn.

Both yarns are from Hjerte Garn from Danemark. Never heard of the brand before but I reckon it might become a regular for me! As you know, my sister lifes in Denmark right now and will come for my grandma's birthday. I wonder if she will bring some yarn?! Lena - if you are reading this... I swap you with sock knitting yarn and you will be in my good graces forever! Well and after my sister moves back to Germany, I will order from Eiderstedter Garnkontor. By the way I am not getting paid for this post or anything. I just liked the yarn so much and had such a lovely chat with  Ulrike Helrich  that I wanted to share my discovery with all of you! :-)
I also couldn't walk past these postcards. Aren't they adoreable? They are from the Vexler-Verlag. Have a look at their homepage, there are lots of cute pictures! I bought several and will put them into frames. They will then become a decoration for my office which I am trying to transform into my studio.

As you know I like to work with Zpagetti yarn. And guess what - they had a stall at the expo with brilliant discounts. I bought 10 baby yarn balls for 10 €. What a bargain! Lots of beautiful colours...

One already became a little basket to store some of my WIPs in. This basket is a modification of this one. It is wider on the bottom (simply add more rows before you go up) and has more rows on top. I love how the yarn worked out in this basket.
I also bought this large cone. Not sure what kind of yarn it is but it was pretty and I wanted to try such yarn which has different strands of different yarns for a long time.

So I got it... No idea what I will do with it though. Any suggestions?!

As you can see: I had a gooodd time at the expo. At one stall I saw a hippo made from Heidi Bears pattern and some owls made from the pattern from BunnyMummy. While I was delighted to see the finished projects, I was also a bit sad on how they were made. This might be a very mean thing to say (SORRY) but they were made of cheap yarn with a hook which was too large. Sigh. Made me feel sorry for the little animals. Have you ever felt like that when you saw a project? I feel bad to feel like that but I couldn't help it.
Take care,

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Quick Recipe - Bacon, Broccoli and Pea Quiche

I love to cook, and one of my regular household jobs is to prepare dinner. I have been experimenting with quiches over the last 6 months or so and have discovered that I really like them! However, we wanted to try and make the quiche as healthy as possible by reducing fat and cramming as many vegetables in as possible.

We've tried sweet potato, spinach, prosciutto, bocconcini, broccoli.... so many options!

Tonight I tried a new combination - bacon, pea and broccoli. It. Was. DELICIOUS! So much so that I thought I just had to share the recipe with you!

Bacon, Broccoli and Pea Quiche
Serves 4

1.5 sheets puff pastry, defrosted
1.5 heads of broccoli florets, chopped small
1 cup of frozen peas
4 rashers of rindless bacon, sliced
150g gruyere cheese, finely grated
8 eggs
150ml thickened cream
Butter for greasing

1. Preheat oven to 200C (180C fan forced).
2. Grease a 23cm pie dish liberally with butter. Line the pie dish with the puff pastry, trimming and folding to fit. Stab the pastry all over with a fork. Lay a sheet of baking paper over the pastry and fill with baking beans or pastry weights.
3. Bake pastry for 15 minutes, then remove baking beans and bake for another 5-10 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the oven.
4. Steam broccoli and peas until almost cooked, but still a bit crunchy. Drain well on paper towel.
5. Heat a frying pan or saucepan over high heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring until bacon starts to crisp up and brown. Drain on paper towel.
6. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Once well combined, stir in the broccoli, peas, bacon and cheese until the fillings are evenly distributed. Pour mixture into the prepared pie case.
7. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the egg is just set and there are no puddles of liquid if you cut into the centre of the quiche.
8. Serve with a green salad if you're feeling super healthy, or just eat on its own!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do :)


Wednesday 12 March 2014

Cuddle Kitten (Pattern)


I love cats. A lot. I wish I could have one but this little flat of ours wouldn’t be the right place for one sight. Anyway, who says I can’t have a crochet one – or even many? I could become a crazy crochet cat lady I reckon…

Last year, I discovered the owl pattern from BunnyMummy and fell in love with it. I made at least 30 owls since them. Most of them left home to become gifts but some are still here (as you can see in this post). The pattern was later adapted into a bunny by Janette from The Green Dragonfly. The bunnies are adorable too and of course I made a couple… How could I resist? 
To make a long story short, I always thought an adaption of the pattern would make a lovely cat and so last weekend I sat down and gave it a try. I think I came up with a kitten I like…

I named the following pattern the cuddle kitty after “my” cat in Australia (that is: Michelle’s parent’s cat Lena) who loved cuddles! This crochet version fits into a hand perfectly. I usually fill the cats (and the owls) with cherry pits or beans. They sit better this way and they are very nice to hold in your hand as a stress reliever!

Anyway – to the pattern! Remember: The original idea / parts of the pattern came from BunnyMummy!


Cuddle Kitty

Yarn weight is not important in this pattern but you need lighter yarn for the eyes.

The pattern is written in US terms.

Body (make 2)
1rd: Work into a magic circle. Chain 3. 13 dc in circle. Close with sl st to top ch 3. Bind off.

2rd: Work in the spaces between the stiches of round 1. 1 sl st to join new colour. Chain 3, 1 dc in same space. 2 dc in each space around (13 times). Close with sl st to top ch 3. Bind off.

3rd: Work in the spaces between the stiches of round 2. 1 sl st to join new colour. Chain 3, 2 dc in same space. 3dc in each space around (13 times). Close with sl st to top ch 3. Bind off.

4rd: Work into the stiches of round 3. Start between two three dc clusters . 1 sl st to join new colour. Chain 2. 2dc in next stich, 1 dc in each of next two stitches, then 2 dc in next stitch. 1 dc in each of next two stitches, then 2 dc in next stitch. 1 hdc in next stitch then 1 sc in each remaining stitch around. Close with a sl st to top chain 2.

5rd: Ch 2, 1 hdc in each of next 11 st, 1 sc in each remaining stitch around. Chain 1, close with sl to chain 2.

6rd: Ch 2, 1 hdc in each of next 11 st. Chain 1, close with sl to the next stich. Bind off.

Ears (2x)
Same colour as Round 4 from body
Work in rounds – don’t close!
1rd: Work in magic circle. 4 sc in circle.
2rd: 2sc in each stich around.

3rd: (1 sc in next 3 stiches, 2 sc in next stiches) x2
4-5 rd: 1 sc in each stich around.

(2x, green or yellow yarn)
Make sure to use lighter yarn!
1 rd: Work in magic circle. Ch1. 2 sc, hdc, ch1, dc, ch1, 2 sc, hdc, ch1, dc, ch1. Close with sl st.

Embroider eyes by stitching black lines to the middle of the eye (I did 3 lines).


Sew eyes to the body.
Sew a snout on the face (see picture) with some pink yarn. As you can see on the pictures of the two different cats, you can give the kittens different personalities by sewing the snout and the eyes into different places.

Hold the two body pieces together (wrong sides should face each other). Sew together and stuff.

Sew ears to the head part. Form a little half circle while sewing one to give the ears texture.

Whiskers: Cut 4 strings of black yarn. Pull underneath the snout and cut to desired length.

Done! :-)

Did you find any errors or have troubles with anything in the pattern? Please drop me a line, so I can fix it! Thanks!

Take care,

Monday 10 March 2014

Planning Random Colours: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Last week I wrote a short blog post about how I went about randomising the colours for a multicoloured Happypotamus.  Here now is a step-by-step explanation if you want to try creating your colour combinations this way!


Step 1

Open up Microsoft Word or another word processing program on your computer.  In a new document, create a table with the same number of rows as pieces you need in your piece of work (plus one for a heading), and the same number of columns as the number of colours in each piece (plus one for the list of pieces). 

For the purposes of this tutorial, I have labelled each piece with the letters A-Z, and decided on randomising two colours, so two colour columns. When I am doing animal pieces I name the pieces after the shapes I need.  You can have more than one piece with the same name - the important part is to have a row for each different piece that you need to do.

NB: Don't label your pieces with numbers! This will be important later!

Step 2

Decide how many colours you will be working with.  In this example, I am using six colours.  Put the numbers 1-6 over and over again down the first column, like this:

Step 3

Next comes the fun part - starting the randomisation! The easiest way to do this is to offset the sequence of numbers by 1 more for each set of 6 pieces (for 6 colours).  This is what the first 6 look like:

Because the first colour of piece A is 1, I have started at 2 and counted forwards 3, 4, 5, 6 and then back to 1 to finish off the set of 6.

Keep adding numbers in, changing the start number for each set of 6, like this:

See how the pink highlighted set of 6 starts with the number 3, and ends with 2?
Eventually, you'll end up with a table like this (with the set of 6 highlighted to make it easier to see):

Have a look over the table - see how there is not a single piece that has the same colours in the same order? Now we're getting random!

At this point, you can save your table as a template - whatever colour substitution you make for each colour will make a different outcome! 

Step 4

Now we need some colours!

My six colours for this example are:

1 = Pink
2 = Blue
3 = Green
4 = Yellow
5 = Purple
6 = White

We need to convert the colours from numbers into words to make it easier to work the pieces.  In Word, the shortcut to do this is Ctrl + h, which brings up the Find and Replace window:

In the "Find what" box, type "1", and in the "Replace With" box, type "Pink" (which is colour 1 according to my conversion list above). Hit "Replace All", and the program will look through your document and replace every "1" it finds with the word "Pink".  This is why it's important not to name your pieces with numbers! See how all the 1s have turned into Pinks in the table now?

Repeat this process for the rest of your colours.  You will end up with a table that looks something like this:

And that's it! Now you have a table of the pieces that you need to complete, and which colours in which order to put in. 

It would be easy to extend this method to add more colours too each piece - just add an extra column and offset the numbers for the third or fourth colour by one more than the column before, like this for example:

Good luck with planning random colours for your next work!