Lotus Mandala Prayer Flag joy

Helloooooo!

Thank you for popping in to visit us this morning!  I hope you’ve enjoyed your week and are having a relaxing Sunday!  Despite the rain and mist, it’s a lovely cozy day here, and not at all cold which is great.

 

I tried to photograph the misty hills for you, but the flash caught the rain drops!  Don’t they look magical?

I’ve been up since 6am as I had to drop KB off at work, then went to the vege market, as I do on a Sunday morning!  I’m completely knackered after a busy week and a terrible night’s sleep which involved getting woken up by some drunk boys having a massive screaming match over some girl- lots of the F word and another neighbour intervening- phew!  Then I had a totally crazy dream that I was trying to buy chocolate while walking on really tall stilts.  So I’m having one of “those” mornings today… I was driving through the city and turned a corner and *CLONK* something hit the side of my car really loudly…like I had run over a big rock and it had smacked up into the bottom of my car… *boom boom boom* goes my heart, as it’s darkish and raining, but I managed to get to the market and home in one piece… then walked through the front door and *woosh* did one of those slips that nearly results in the splits and just about dropped my bags of veges everywhere!  I decided I absoloutely needed to sit down in my rocker, stat, before I broke something, or myself, and have a rest and relax before I do anything like put the veges away!  Luckily I managed not to drop and destroy these beautiful pieces of happy!

 

Oh how I love pink, the whole spectrum of pinky goodness never fails to make me feel loving and happy. 

So yay, here I am, excited to be spending a little time in my happy place, sorting out the tutorial for my new favourite thing, the lotus mandala prayer flags!  I’ve had a few people comment here and on Ravelry that they’re watching for the tutorial, and wow, thank you! That makes me feel really good, it was awesome to get such a positive response!

I whipped up another set on Friday morning, they only took me a few hours, and I apologise for the terrible lighting in my photographs… my photos turn out best when the sun is shining, which it doesn’t always, so some of them get a bit dark.

Here’s the finished product….

Oh I love them!  I made them with 8ply wool and a 4mm hook.  They’re made mainly with dc2tog stitches, a quick reminder of how to do that is:

Yarn over hook, insert hook into stitch, pull through loop, yarn over, pull loop through 2 stitches on hook, yarn over, insert hook into same stitch, pull through loop, yarn over, pull loop through 2 stitches on hook (three left on hook) yarn over, pull loop through all three stitches on hook.

To begin, we are going to make a magic ring, ch2, 1dc (counts as 1dc2tog), ch1, dc2tog, repeat 4 more times until you have 6 dc2tog, each separated by 1ch.  Join with a slst to 2nd ch of original 2ch. Click here and a magical window will pop up with a photo tutorial for how to do this, it’s the same as the centre of the grandala square.  My advice?  Make all five at once and weave in the ends as you go!!!

Change your colour, and bringing new colour through from the back, join with a slst, ch2, 1dc (counts as 1dc2tog), ch1, into same space, dc2tog.  Ch1, into the next space, dc2tog, ch1, dc2tog… continue around the circle until each 1ch space from round 1 is filled with 2dc2tog each separated by 1ch.  Join with a slst to 2nd ch of original 2ch.

Weave in those ends now!  Go on!!!  Do it!  It will make the whole process more fun if you don’t have that big job to do at the end!!!!!

OK, so next round is pretty much the same as the last round, except in every second 1ch space, just do 1dc2tog.  See the pic?

And the next round is exactly the same as the last!

For the outside, join the last colour with a slst and ch1.  Now sc into each stitch around the edge until you get halfway around.  ch3, and sc into the next space.

Turn, and into the 3ch loop, sc, hdc, dc, ch1, dc, hdc, sc.  Slst into closest sc, and turn again.

Slst into the three stitches and slst into the 1ch space, then make a picot by chaining3, then slst into the first ch, slst into the smae space and slst into the three stitches back to the beginning.  Slst into the next stitch and continue with sc around the edge.

And viola!  There you have it!  I hope that made sense!  Let me know if I talked you into a tangle!

When you have made five, back them with felt by cutting circles to fit and loosely sewing onto the back.  I tried to be lazy and not do it with this set, but they flopped in a terribly unattractive way, so back them I did!

To join them, I ch10 then slst into a loop, ch15, join one mandala with 3sc along the top, ch20, join the next one…. until I had a nice even row of beautiful hanging mandalas!

Here’s where I hung them, here’s a picture of a spot in my house, which I’ll admit here, is comfortably, cozily cluttered with wonderful things!

You can see through there into my kitchen, the slow cooker is cooking some delicious soup!

So I was reminded that it’s international crochet day today by a few blogs and how exciting is that!!!  here’s what I’m going to get up to for the next little while!

Continuing work on my latest grandala square cushion!  I’m loving looking around blogs and seeing grandalas popping up!  I thought I’d try hooking one in a different colour scheme to my usual too-bright-to-look-at styles!  KB loves it and I think I do too….  Later I’m off for a visit to my parents to get some wool sorted for Tuesday where I’m going to learn injection dying.  I’ll be sure to take my camera and show you all the process too!

Lots of love to you wonderful and kind people, I’m so looking forward to having a nice catch up of all of your blogs which I’ve been having withdrawals from as I’ve been working, and have so missed soaking up all of your loveliness…

Have a lovely Sunday,

From Alice and Raymond XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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Posted in Bunting, Crochet Goodness, Patterns, Prayer Flags | 43 Comments

Grandala Square Tutorial!!!

Hello Lovely People!

I hope you’re all having a wonderfully relaxing or exciting weekend!  *YAWN*  I’m completely knackered today after a couple of days of work and lots of hours essay writing!  It’s mid-afternoon and I’m craving a strong coffee and carrot cake… but I’m being completely restrained and drinking a hot lemon and ginger and eating an apple (boring).  I know if I have a coffee I’ll be awake all night and need 4 to get me started in the morning, then the sleep will get out of whack and all of a sudden I’ll be a jittery mess!  Raymond and I are trying to relax, him in front of the heater and me in front of my laptop.  It’s a crazy windy day here, my house is shaking like it’s about to blow off the side of the hill I live.

Thank you so much, you lovely ones who sent messages of love and concern regarding the earthquake on Saturday morning!  You are truly so sweet and I felt very blessed to have such wonderful people in my life.  The earthquake was in Christchurch which is in the South Island, down the right there…

KB and I live in Wellington, at the bottom of the North Island which was unaffected by the quake… I felt it though, the jolt woke me up at 4.35am and my mirror went click-click-click-click-click… for those of you who have been in earthquakes, you know what thats like!  You lie there in fearful anticipation… was that just the warmup?  Wow, is Mother Nature an amazing force.   So Christchurch and Canterbury have suffered extensive damage… I felt sad looking through the pictures on this site, the ones that shocked me most were the railway tracks and the petrol tanks lifting up out of the ground.  Luckily *luckily* as far as I know, no-one was killed as the quake happened when everyone was in bed, what a relief… I shudder to think of it happening at 3pm when schools had finished or anything…  So I’m sending much love and kind thoughts to Chrishchurch residents and all of the people rallying around to get the city back into order, and being reminded to send much much love to the people of Haiti, or New Orleans, or anywhere else that has been affected by forces of nature beyond their control.

So these things said and done, shall we begin with the exciting process of the Grandala square tutorial!   I just love making these squares and have in fact been making many!  For those of you who have just found my blog, click here to see the process and how many attempts I took before I was happy with this pattern!  I’m thrilled to share the pattern and can’t wait to see what beautiful things you all create with this!  I used 8ply wool and a 4mm hook as per usual!

 My very patient sister helped me with a photo tutorial for a *magic ring!!!!*… what a process, the first photos were blurry, so we re-did them, I think this time she decided it was a challenge to get those photos just right for my blog!  Little sisters are the best, they’re usually up for anything!  So for those of you who have not yet tried a magic ring, here we go!  We are going to begin with the first round of the square!

Ooh, remember now, I’m a lefty, so for you right handers out there, just mirror me!

To begin, wrap your wool around your index finger, with the tail end to the front, closest to your thumb.

Does that make sense?  The tail isn’t showing in that pic, but it’s the right thread.  Insert your hook through the loop and bring a loop through the ring.  (I’m hoping this picture will paint 1000 words here!)

Chain 2, 1 dc into ring.  (Counts as 1 dc2tog).

To do dc2tog: yarn over, insert hook into stitch, yarn over, pull loop through, yarn over, pull loop through two loops on hook, yarn over, insert hook into same stitch, pull loop through stitch, yarn over, pull loop through two loops on hook, yarn over, pull loop through all remaining loops on hook.

That one was blurry!  Bad sister! *ch1, dc2tog* repeat four more times, until you have 6 dc2tog in total. 

Here’s where the magic ring gets magic!  Soo how it has a gap between the first dc2tog and the last?  Well, take that tail end and gently pull…

And voila!  It’s closed!  Now ch1 and join with a slst to 2nd ch of original 2ch.

There we go!  Easy peasy!  We had to hurry at the end there, my hands were turning an unattractive shade of purple because of the cold! 

So there’s the centre of your mandala.  Now, I finished this tutorial at home, so we’re having a location change here!  Here’s the centre again!

 Change colour.  Bring new colour up between the dc2togs and into the same space, ch 2, 1dc (counts as 1 dc2tg), ch1, dc2tog.

Ch1, into next space, dc2tog, ch1, dc2tog, ch1.  Repeat around the circle until each of the spaces from round 1 are filled with *dc2tog, ch1, dc2tog* and you have 12 1ch spaces between dc2tog.  ooh, I hope that makes sense!  I want to try a video next time!  It’s so much easier to show you what I’m talkng about!

I love those little dc2togs, they’re so compact and sweet!  I’m very excited by their presence in my square.

Next round, change colour and bring new colour up in one of the 1ch spaces.  Ch3, (counts as 1dc) 2dc into same space.  Ch1, 3dc into next 1ch space.  Continue around the circle until each of the 12 spaces are filled, ch1 and join with a slt into 3rd ch of original 3ch.

And there you have your mandala!  Now it’s time to make it into a square.  I’ve chosen natural fibre here in order to show the lovely circular effect… black or white would look amazing too.  We’re going to need trebles (tr) and half trebles (htr) here, so if you’ve never done these before, here’s a quick how-to.

Half trebles:  Yarn around hook twice, insert hook into stitch, pull a loop through, yarn over, pull loop through 2 loops on hook (3 left on hook) yarn over, pull loop through all three stitches on hook.

Trebles: Yarn over hook twice, insert hook into stitch, pull loop through, yarn over, pull loop through two loops on hook, yarn over, pull loop through two loops on hook, yarn over, pull loop through all remaining loops on hook.

So bring the new colour up in one of the 1ch spaces and ch3 (counts as 1dc), 2dc into same space.  Ch 1, now we’re creating a corner, so into next 1ch space, 2htr, 1tr, ch3, 1tr, 2htr, ch1.  The circle needed that extra space in the corner so we use the trebles.  3dc into next 1ch space, ch1, 3dc into next 1ch space, ch1 then repeat corner sequence.  Now, continue around the circle in the same fashion as you would a granny square, just using the tr and htr in the corners!

And there we have it, a Grandala square fit for a blanket or cushion or whatever you want!

I do believe that granny squares are one of the most difficult things to photograph!  Here’s a close up of that mandala goodness!

And a glimpse into the colourful wonderment that is my latest WIP!  It’s so bright, as usual, my camera didn’t want to photograph it very well!

As you can see, I’ve used my favourite natural fibre to egde the squares to really make those mandalas pop out of the square.  I’m loving them, I hope you do too.

OK, that’s all from me for now, I must, must, must go and finish my essay!  Oh, but before I do, have you ever seen a cat with six toes?  I have, my sister has one named Squid who is the loveliest little sweetie ever, she’s tiny and her fur is so silky soft!  I got a picture today showcasing her full range of digits!

They’re like the cutest little pair of mittens!  I love her so much!

OK then, I’m going, I’m going!!!

Lots of love to you all, from Alice and Raymond XXX

Posted in Crochet Goodness, Grandala Square, Granny Squares, Patterns | 63 Comments

The intricate business of creating a coffee plunger cozy!

Hellooooooooooooooooooooooo!

I hope you’re all enjoying your sunday… many of my blog friends will be fast asleep (or out on the town!) as I type this… I was reflecting the other day, on how amazing it is to meet and keep in touch with so many people from all around the world, and follow their lives.  It makes me realise how isolated we are all the way down at the bottom of Mother Earth, and I am thoroughly enjoying watching your seasons change, I feel so much more… connected!  It’s great.  I hope you are all enjoying watching my winter turn into spring and not feel too many regrets about the changes you’re going through…  I promise to post many pictures of sunshiney happiness to warm you up on the inside in a few months time!

No sunshiney happiness is happening here today though!  It seemed like it might be a nice day, but by 8.30am a random rainstorm had happened, a gust of howling wind blew through (it has gone now) and the greyness set in.  KB and I hung out together all morning, all our windows steamed up… until we couldn’t take it anymore!  We got in the car and went to the supermarket… even though Sunday afternoon is the WORST time ever to go to Pak’n’Save!  We managed to escape without uttering too many swear words, and our cabin fever was gone!  Home we came as fast as we could!!!

I’m going to post the spoils of my morning stuck inside…  I didn’t make ALL of it today, some was last night too!  I’m not a crochet machine!  I really, really wanted to show you my crazy stripes hat, but I want to take the pictures outside, so that will have to wait until the rain has subsided.

I’m crazy about the colours I used, have you noticed by now that I totally get off on bright and beautiful colours!

Granny stripes have been happening…

And a matching mandala too!

Last night I really felt like getting some mandala action happening.  I was going to make one in many different shades of green, but it created itself into dazzling blues and turquoises and I’m pleased!  I love it! 

A couple of weeks ago, KB found a BRAND NEW Bodum coffee plunger at the op shop and snapped it up for $8 (yessssss!) and we were happy about that because the one we bought a few months ago had already broken.  However, this one is huge and the skull coffee plunger cozy I made the old plunger, didn’t fit this new one, so I decided to hook one out of these stunning colours this morning.  I cannot stand luke-warm plunger coffee, it’s bad news in my world, and plunger cozies work a treat.  So how about a wee tutorial?

I’ve made so many things from the Lovely Lucy’s granny stripe pattern I’ve remembered it off by heart!  It’s wonderful, thank you Lucy!  To begin, I made a piece to fit my plunger, (make it in granny stripes or whatever you prefer…)

 … making sure it didn’t meet at the back, then edged it in a different colour with single crochet…

Then I edged this piece with a pretty shell stitch… It’s a bit more delicate than the big shell stitch I usually use… after I joined my single crochet round with a slip stitch, I chained one, then into the next stitch, 1 sc, 1hdc, 1 sc, slip stitch into the next 3 stitches… repeat around and around and around… Lovely!

By this stage in the creative process I was getting very, very excited!  I’ve discovered that coffee plunger cozies stretch, so I created a device to stop them slipping off the plunger!  (It’s so technical  ha ha)… check it out!

Simple it seems!  But so utterly necessary!  I joined the wool with a slip stitch to the top of the cozy and chained a few stitches until it JUST reached the other side.  Remember if you make one, it will stretch!  I slip stitched it to the other side and single crocheted back across the chain to make it nice and strong.

THEN!  (It’s such an involved process isn’t it!)  Then I made the tie-up part at the back.  The first two plunger cozies I made (this is my 4th) I used buttons and loops which looked so pretty!  But when you are constantly taking the cozy off to wash the plunger, you get really p**sed off with the pretty buttons and loops, so I now create a tie on either side of the cozy which works like a charm!

Ta daaaaa!!!!

This is turning into quite a long post!  I’m sure you noticed that the mandala was the same colour as the plunger… well, I’m quite partial to matching things, and thought that it might be nice to have them matching for coffee drinking occasions!

I LOVE this mandala.  I’m wondering if it’s my favourite yet, or if that’s just because it’s new.  KB is a very talented painter, and she taught me about blending colours.  So I took it on board and have been blending my wool in the same way she blends her paints when I make my mandalas. 

Here’s one of that lovely mini shell stitch…

And one more gratuitous shot of mandala-licious-ness!

Getting home from the supermarket was the best… especially sitting down for a coffee and testing it all out!

Complete and utter fun!

I hope you enjoyed that colour therapy!  I’m off to upload them onto my ravelry page! woo hoo!  Ravelry is the best!   Then after that, I’m going to be highly disciplined!  I am giving a 30 minute (plus 15 minutes for questions) presentation tomorrow at 9.15am for one of my polytech classes.  I get reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllllllllllly nervous when I have to do public speaking, so I’m going to get myself well prepared and practiced!  And start imagining all of my classmates in their underwear… or maybe not…

Have a lovely beginning to your week everyone, and thank you so much for popping in,

lots of love from Alice and Raymond XXX

Posted in Coffee Plunger Cozies!, Colour Therapy!, Crochet Goodness, Granny Mandala, Patterns | 53 Comments

My Mum’s sheep collection.

If you’re thinking by now that I’m a yarnophile (you’re right by the way…)… you should meet my mum.

She hearts wool soooooo much, that she even grows it on her very own collection of sheep.   She tells me she can knit in the dark too… I’ll have to see it to believe it…

So I was out visiting my parents, and had to introduce you to my Mum’s flock of sheep.  She likes dark wool, so most of her sheep are dark… although… as you will see, a white ram got into the paddock and tupped one of her ewes!  White lambs!  That’s how you can tell when there is a hole in the fence that separates your paddocks from your neighbours.

If you zoom in very very closely there, you can see them running down the hill… they can hear my Dad calling them and rattling sheep nuts.

Those sheep love my Dad and his nuts…

She’s got a lot of sheep… according to my Dad she has “too bloody many,” but I think thats what all husbands think about wives who collect things…  Most of her sheep are tame-ish so they’re a nice flock.  Some are really old too.

And that’s just the sheep in the top paddock!!!  All the lambs are down the bottom!

Over on those hills, in front of the big row of trees they can hear the nuts and they’re coming!

Cue: Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww little lambs!  There’s that white one… in fact, at the time I took this shot, it’s twin was right up on the hill, it got left behind.  We could hear it crying like crazy, but it managed to find it’s way over a creek and into the pen!

Action shot of said lamb racing up to it’s mother!

They’re a friendly bunch, especially when there are treats involved!  Oh and check out this sheep… whever did the shearing on this guy must have had a sense of humor… he looks like a teddy!

And one last shot… I think this is my Mum’s favourite sheep of all…

So there’s a little insight into my unusual family and where I get my wool obsession from!  It seems it is genetic…

Hope you enjoyed!

Lots of love from Alice and Raymond XX

Posted in Other Ramdom Stuff | 16 Comments

A mistake!

It’s me again!  tee hee!

I’ve been working on little wee projects lately, which deserve a whole post in themselves… I think sometimes that I’ll save some of my work for posts in the future when I’m not being so productive, but creativity is a process don’t you agree?  I find that I’ll create something, and LOVE it!  Be obsessed with it’s beauty!  Then a few weeks later, I’ll have improved my skills and look at the original and think “gosh!  what c**p!”

So when I was creating my Granny Mandala pattern, I made a mistake which became something quite cool actually!  And just in case anyone would like to have a go, here is the pattern!

Granny triangles!!!  Did you see kate at Fox’s Lane’s wall of pot holders?  I saw them and fell in love with the look, so when I discovered how to make a triangle, I decided to have a go at making a pot holder for the wall above my stove!  The first of many, if I’m inspired enough!

So here is how I made it.  I’ve only made one so far, so if you have a whirl and find a mistake in my pattern, please let me know and I’ll update it!  Every time I try to write a pattern, I get myself so hopelessly muddled!  So once again, I’ve written in a different colour, some easier for me to understand guidelines!!!!!

Round 1: ch4, join with slst to make a ring

Round 2: ch3 (counts as 1dc) 8dc into the ring.  Join with a slst to 3rd ch of original 3ch.

You’re increasing in this round, so double “grannies” each time. You want to create 3 lots of doubles which have a 3ch space between, to create a corner, and 1ch between each set of doubles.

Round 3: ch3, then between the stitches, 2dc, ch3, 3dc into the same space as you would to create a corner in a granny square.  Ch1. Skip 3 dc stitches from round 2, 3dc, ch3, 3dc into same space, repeat once more, ch1 and join with a slst to the 3rd ch of original 3ch. 

From here on in, you’re working it like a granny square just with 3 corners instead of 4, and making sure you make a 3ch gap in between each “granny” in each corner to allow room for turning.  Then, 1 “granny” in each space down each side of the triangle.

Round 4:  Ch3, 2dc into 3ch space, ch3, 3dc into same space. (You have just created a corner here) Ch1, 3dc into next space, ch1, into the next space 3dc, ch3, 3dc, ch 1, 3dc into next space, ch1, into next corner space, 3dc, ch3, 3dc, ch1, into next space 3dc, ch1 and join with a slst into 3rd ch of original 3ch.

Round 5….. onwards!  Repeat round 4 as many times as you like!

Edging: I just did a round of sc, then another round of sc with a ch loop on one of the corners to hang it above my stove.  I’ve just made a pretty little shell edging for a mandala which I’m going to show you later on in the week, and that would look lovely on one of these, so I may need to alter it!

I’m quite thrilled with this new discovery, and hope you like it too!  File it away for when you’re bored with all your WIP’s and want a new and fun project to make in an evening!

Enjoy your day,

Lots of love from Alice and Raymond XX

 

Posted in Crochet Goodness, Patterns | 27 Comments

I love Sunday

Hello!  It feels like AGES since I’ve posted… I think it has only been 4 days, but it feels like longer…  The reason?  Well, sadly my holidays finished (*sniff*) and I’ve been filling my days with classes… practical placement hours… WORK!  I’ve got a very busy few weeks coming up, with class 5 days a week (9-3.30, just like school!), practical work and my job thrown in for good measure.  So not so much wooly goodness will be happening, but I’m sure I’ll squeeze in some time for creative pursuits!  In fact, this Wednesday, I am attending my first ever meeting of “the crafty foxes,” a group of creative wonder-women who meet in the city twice a month.  I’m so excited, and will tell you all about it on thursday!  And once those few busy weeks are up, a week of wonderful exciting happiness will begin which I’ll tell you all about in good time!

It’s sunday again, my favourite day as I work on friday and saturday, so am very ready for a day off on sunday!  Plus, its vege market day, so I was there in the near-dark again this morning, stocking up on all my fresh goodness!  I’ve been cooking up a storm this morning, getting dinners for the week ready and freezing them, enjoying all the fresh produce I purchased today!  When I was leaving the market, I still had some coins, and as I walked past the plant stall, I spied these!  I was so greatly inspired by Vanessa’s lovely garden post yesterday, it made me yearn for some flowery prettiness at my house!

I bought a few and brought them home to put in a pot, they’re living on my lounge table right now, and they make me feel happy every time I see them!  And at $1.50 per plant they were a steal.  After the market, I saw them in the supermarket for $3.97 per plant… such is the difference between market and “super”market in Wellington!

I really really really hope they live… I’m the world’s worst gardener, which upsets me, as I want to grow things, and confuses me because my moon is in Taurus and Taureans are meant to have green thumbs… (to find out your moon sign click here!)  I have been known to kill a parsley plant which lived on my windowsill… ) So wish me luck, because they are just so pretty!

Enough blathering… I’m going to share today, my dairy-free healthy cake recipe.  *GASP*  I swore I would never ever share it, because I bake one for every event I go to and people LOVE it because it’s healthy and delicious!  But I’m sharing it now because I get so much inspiration from my lovely lovely blog friends, and the depth of sharing in this community has blitzed any baking selfishness I have suffered from!

It’s my own secret recipe, and it’s hard to share, because I have no recipe, and I never measure the ingredients, and it changes every time, but I’ve done my best!  So get a pen and write this down!

I use the same recipe whether I bake cakes or muffins, it’s very multi-purpose!

Either grease your tin with marge, or make some muffin tin liners with greaseproof paper… I’m doing muffins today because I can’t be bothered scrubbing a cake tin.

Into a bowl, add 1 free range egg, 1 cup of raw sugar and 1/3 cup of oil.  Olive, rice bran, as long as it’s not that vile canola, you’re good!  Then add 3 heaped teaspoons of cinnamon.  (yes it’s heaps but tastes so good!)  Mix together well.

Now for the fruit.  Use anything that needs using.  In these muffins I’ve put 2 bananas (because my frozen banana stash in my freezer is getting out of control!) and I’ve grated 3 apples.  Put in heaps of fruit because these are meant to be healthy muffins to be enjoyed a lot!  So maybe 1 1/2 cups of fruit?

Now add a cup of other stuff.  This can include nuts, dates, sultanas, dried apricots, linseeds, sunflower seeds, just whatever you have in your cupboard that needs using.  I’ve added nuts because I cleaned out my cupboards yesterday and found about 5 packs of nuts with about 4 nuts left in each one ha ha, and dates because I LOVE dates!  In the last batch I made I added sunflower seeds that I’d had in my sprouter, and they were GOOD! 

Then add 1 cup of rolled oats and 1/2 cup of bran.

If you’re thinking, wow, this is going to be a big cake, you’re right, but that’s the point!  So, mix all that in, then add 3 heaped teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 cup of plain white flour and 2/3 cup of wholemeal flour.  Then wet the mixture with soymilk until it is reasonably sloppy, it needs to be nice and wet so the cake stays moist.

Add to cake tin or spoon into muffin trays!  Embellish with some dark chocolate if you’re lactose intolerant, if you’re a milk drinker, add a big dollop of cream cheese, or chocolate YUM!  And bake at 180 degrees C until baked.  I didn’t time these, but when they look cooked, pull them out 🙂

Wait until they have cooled!  You must!  They taste so much nicer cool!

I took 2 muffins as a gift for my downstairs neighbour… she came to the door with Raymond in her arms, so I won’t see much of him today!  She uses her heater more than us, so he much prefers visiting her!

So now I’ve done my cooking and baking mission, I have the rest of the day to begin about 4 different assignments, do some yoga and continue with my latest WIP!

I’m making that beautiful touchyarn my mum gave me into a hat for ME!  Yes yes… it’s on straight needles, I am not skilled with circular needles and sew up seams flawlessly!  Please enjoy the colours!  I am!  After I’ve had a go at that, I’m going to begin a crochet scarf in a cool new fan stitch… watch this space!

Have a lovely and wonderfully magical day!  I’m off to make a coffee and eat a(nother) muffin!

Thank you so much for stopping by!  I love your visits and comments, you’re all just the best!  Love and blessings from Alice and Raymond XX

Posted in Knitting!, Other Ramdom Stuff | 15 Comments

Getting knotted the French way!

Bonjour tout le monde!

I’m sure the lovely Pat at will correct my french if that was wrong!

God I wish I knew how to do that linky thing in my posts!  I’ve been trying and trying… the lovely Joyce tries to help me out there, but still no linking!  Any other instructions???!!!  (Thank you by the way Joyce!  I wish I could make it work!)

Onto today’s post!!!  I’ve done a tutorial on french knotting because my next pattern/tutorial involves french knots, so I thought I’d address them first, so the whole thing doesn’t look too complex!  It involves knitting, crochet and embroidery skills, so let’s get the embroidery skills sorted first!  I’m sure many of you know how to french knot, but it’s something I’ve just learned.  It took me about 10 tries before I accomplished my first knot, so here is my easy to follow tutorial!

I’ve knitted up a swatch to demonstrate… I discovered, that if you make your knot through the wavey bit of the knitting, it sits better on top of the knitting instead of half-coming through the holes in the knitting and not looking so knotty.

There they are… two lovely french knots.

So thread your wool needle and sew through the back of the garment where you would like your knot to be placed.

I do believe I see a piece of Raymond’s fur on that knitting… I tell you, it gets everywhere… I like to wear a lot of black and in the springtime when he moults… it’s all over for me… I can’t even sit down without looking like a crazy cat lady when I stand up.

Back to the knotting.  So now you want to wrap the wool around the needle TWICE.  Here’s where I messed things up about ten times.  This is a two hand job, don’t be fooled by my hands in this shot, I needed one of them to take the photo…

When you wrap, you want the tail of the wool to be the bottom “wrap,” to be closest to the garment.  Does that make sense? 

Now pull it firm… not too tight and not too baggy… and thread the needle back through the garment, just next to where you sewed through originally.

Gently pull it through…

And voila!  A french knot!  Or ten!

I’m shit at keeping secrets, so I’m going to tell you that I’ve been french knotting some booties (I was serious about the baby fever…) the first bootie has tentative, not so wonderful french knots as I was practicing, but the second bootie!  Well I was almost a pro by then!  Speeding through the knots, I was surprised!  All of a sudden I’m fluent in french knotting and totally excited about this new skill!  The possibilities!

I hope you give it a try too if you’ve never had a go before!  Or maybe this tutorial will inspire you to pick up the needle again and do some lovely embellishing!

So come back soon and see what I’ve been french knotting!  I have to tell you… my creativity is waning this week… I managed to finish Leonie’s wrap but I’m not enjoying how it fits… I put the armholes too far down so it has large lapels!  Then I decided to knit myself a scarf out of the lovely hand-painted touchyarn I was given, so I ran out of wool before I could even wrap it around my neck properly!  Frogged it!  (OUCH) The ball of wool is back in my stash looking a bit crumpled… So two time consuming projects which yielded no joy… I tink I’m going to have to have a surf around all of your blogs for some much-needed inspiration!

have a lovely, lovely day, blessings coming your way, from Alice and Raymond XX

I must admit I’m concerned that my spell checker picked up knot every time I typed it!  I’m sure I know how to spell knot! 

Posted in Knitting!, Other Ramdom Stuff, Patterns | 5 Comments