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Friday, 22 July 2016

Crochet Mandrake Tablet Case | Harry Potter DIY


For some reason the Harry Potter series is like a crafting muse for me. I have a notepad filled with all sorts of ideas that I'm regularly adding to. Last week, when I booked tickets to go to Harry Potter Studio Tour, my brain went into crochet overdrive and I had to make something to get my crafting energy to calm down. The trip will be my second, but I'm beyond excited as it will be at Christmas and with my sister, who loves the wizarding world as much as me.

I decided I needed a case for my tablet as it will be travelling with me and I don't have one.
When my brain is full of ideas I like to use an A4 pad to map everything out and it helps me come to a decision. With this project I had a couple of Ravenclaw themed ideas first and then I just saw a baby mandrake plant fully formed in my head.

I knew it would be a crocheted case and as soon as I had my design sketched out I went searching for the right yarns.




I decided on Sirdar Wash 'n' Wear Double Crepe DK in brown and duck egg for the main body of the case as I wanted something fairly durable. For the Mandrake itself, well they're a bit magical so I needed something a more special than 'normal' yarn. I decided to go with Sirdar Softspun Luxury Soft DK in goldie and green as it has a beautiful shimmer to it and it makes the Mandrake jump out of the background. I'm terrible at taking photos, so you'll have to trust me!

For the eyes I used a black sparkly Jomil Starmist crochet thread. I bought mine from a sale bin at my local yarn shop for £1, so have a look around, as the when I searched for it online so I could give you links it was selling for £7 which is frankly ridiculous!

Anyway, what do you think of the finished product? I'm really happy with how it turned out

For the crochet lovers who want a bit more detail about what I did:

The body of the case is entirely single crochet (US) using a 4.00mm hook. I made a foundation chain the length of my tablet as the bottom and then for one round worked in the front loop only all the way around to make a 'corner' so that bottom and sides had a better shape. Then it was just plain old single crochet until it was big enough to entirely cover my tablet.

The Mandrake itself I made in seven pieces with a 3mm hook. (Head, body, 4 limbs and 2 leaves) I made each part free form, but using mostly single crochet, with the odd half-double, and double to make it look a bit gnarly and root-like. The body and head were made as off circles with random increases, decreases and missed stitched to alter the shape. I basically just eye-balled it.

The leaves I based loosely off the Fern leaf pattern from 100 Flowers to knit and Crochet. (If you haven't had a look through it before, I can't recommend it enough)

The eyes were little knots made with a darning needle.

The features were made with a 2.5mm hook in a chain on top of the face. I did a little down-turned mouth shape and frowning eyebrows, although it's fairly hard to see. If I did it again, I'd probably use a bigger hook for that part. Or perhaps a slightly darker shade of yarn.

When I had crocheted all the body parts together, I loosely pinned it on the case and sewed it into place with a large darning needle. I actually remembered to a few photos here and there in case anyone fancies having a go themselves and finds them helpful.

 

 

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

I Want to Collect All of the Things!

I want to start by saying, I'm 31 year old Mother of two, which makes me an official grown up now, okay? So it's a given that I'm way too old to be collecting toys, but look! Would you just look at the tiny, adorable, Potter characters!



Funko are releasing Harry Potter Mystery Minis! I never collected things as a child and their Pop Vinyl figures never tempted me, but I really want a tiny little Minerva! Forbidden Planet put's their UK release date as 4th August, but I found some available on Amazon now and I'm so tempted to buy a whole box. Is it considered bad parenting to feed my children only beans on toast so I can buy myself toys?






Sunday, 10 July 2016

2 Crochet Hooks - Tea for Two

Hi everyone! This is just a quick little post to let you all know that 2crochethooks.com have had me as their guest this week, on their Tea for Two feature. If you haven't come across their site before, it's a great place to find free patterns, inspiration and new blogs to binge on.

Pop on over and find yourself another project to add to your list, perhaps something festive, July 'tis the season for Christmas Crochet after all.









Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Tuna and Cheese Burgers (or Bake)

This is a great recipe for making sure you use up food that can get forgotten about in the back of your cupboard, along with some fresh ingredients. It's easily changed and adapted depending on what you have in or what you're in the mood for and it doesn't take too long. About 10 minutes prep time and roughly the same for cooking.

It can be made as burgers in a pan or as a bake in the oven. In Spring and Summer I tend to favour making it as burgers and having it with couscous, green beans and salad. In Autumn and Winter it's lovely comfort food as a bake with sweet potato chips and veg.



Ingredients
  • 250g of tuna
  • Seven Ritz sized crackers (can be changed to taste)
  • One cup of grated Mozzarella
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 3 Spring onions, chopped
suggested alternatives: I've also swapped the spring onion for sweetcorn, chopped peppers or red onion and all work well.


Method

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. The crackers should be broken into pieces, not dust. If making burgers, divide into four or five and shape into patties about 2cm thick and cook in a frying pan over a medium heat for roughly 4 minutes each side.

The burgers can be cooked straight away after making, but I find that if you let them chill in the fridge for at least twenty minutes first they tend to hold their shape better when cooking. I tend to make mine ahead of time, either the night before or earlier in day.

If making as a bake, put in a greased oven proof dish, add a little extra cheese on top and place in the centre of a preheated oven at 180oc for 10-15 minutes.

Below is a video showing me making and cooking the burgers. If you want to skip straight to the cooking part (and miss out the intro and ingredients) it starts at 1:54.





Let me know if you try it!

Monday, 14 March 2016

Crochet Spring Daffodil | Pattern

At this time of year with Spring and Easter right around the corner I always get the urge to start crocheting Daffodils. They were the very first flower I ever crocheted, so I have a soft spot for them. There are a myriad of patterns for them out there. However, when I couldn't find the 'perfect' one after lots of Pinterest and googling they became the first thing I ever made my own pattern for.

Each year I end up going back to it and refining it and changing it as my crochet skills and knowledge of stitches grows. This year I think I'm finally happy.

I used a stitch that I'm not certain of the name of on the outer petals as it makes them ever so slightly pointier. (Too roundy petals was my problem with other daffodil patterns.) It might be two double trebbles together, or as there are a lot of other stitches in the same stitch is it a type of puff stitch?

I've put the pattern down below, and tried my best to note down the stitch I used on the outer petals. I also made a video of me making a petal. Does anyone know what I should be calling it?

Anyway, here are some pictures of the final product and a video of how I make the petals. I think I might whip stitch a brooch on the back and put it on my coat. Or maybe make a whole vase of crocheted Daffs. What do you think?






Crochet Daffodil Pattern

The flower is made in two parts. The outer petals and the inner petals. The pattern is written in US Crochet terms.

Abbreviations:

CH = chain
SS = slip stictch
SC = single crochet
HDC = half double crochet
DC = double crochet
TR = treble crochet
DTR = double treble crochet
YO = yarn over

Inner Petals

To begin: CH3,SS in first CH to make a loop.
Round 1. CH1, 6SC in the loop. SS to first SC to join.
Round 2. CH4 (this counts as a TR) 2TR in the front loop of each SC around, with the exception of the final SC. Make 1TR in this stitch and SS to the top of the CH4 to join.

Fasten off and weave in your ends.

Outer Petals

To begin: CH4, SS in first CH to make a loop.
Round 1. CH1, 6SC in the loop. SS to first SC to join.
Round 2. CH1, 2SC in each SC around. SS in first SC to join (12 SC)
Round 3. CH1, (2SC in next 2 SC, SC in next SC) around .SS in the first SC to join (20 SC)
Round 5. CH1, (SC,HDC,DC,TR in the next SC. In that same stitch DTR2TOG SC around the most recent DTR post then continue to work a TR, DC, HDC, SC in the same stitch you placed the second of your DTR. SS in the next two SC) around.

Fasten off and weave in your ends. Attach the two flower parts together in your preferred method.




Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Galleon, Sickle and Knuts Jars | Harry Potter DIY

Like Many people I save my change.  I started out just using one big glass jar. To save time sorting once it gets full I began using a smaller one too, for smaller change. The jars just looked a bit 'blah' though, and as they're always out on display I thought maybe I should jazz them up a bit.

As a Harry Potter fan I wanted a wizzardy theme, and decided I would simply label the jars as if I was Molly Weasley and they were in the The Burrow. The large one for my coppers would be 'Knuts', the smaller jar for silver change would be 'Sickles' and I decided to add a tiny third jar for my 'Galleons' (or two pound coins).



I wanted the jars to look like they had been sat around The Burrow for many years being used to save up for Hogwarts lists, and so look a little shabby. I used plain A4 drawing paper for the labels, but gave it a light tea wash to make it look a bit more like parchment paper.
I tore all the edges rather than leaving a clean line from scissors and I wrote in a brown fine pen so it looked a little like quill ink that had faded over time.





Finally, I gave the whole jar a coat of matte Mod Podge when affixing the label, and then another all over once it was dry. This made the glass look less shiny and new, and more well worn and grimy.

As the 'Knuts' label was the largest and was a little wrinkly from the tea wash it got a few air bubble lines when getting stuck down, but I love it all the same.


That's it! What to you think?







Friday, 29 January 2016

Crochet Car Basket

I'm a member of the UK Survival Network (UKSN) and one of their posts in January was asking us all to start a DIY project that either allowed us to develop new skills, or improve our existing ones. I decided to take this as an opportunity to try a crochet technique I'd not used before.

Recently we went from having one large family car to having two smaller ones. I now have a little Fiat Panda all to myself, which I love, but I haven't put any 'emergency supplies' in it yet. With Winter finally starting to bite, I want to leave some items permanently in the car in case I was stuck in it for a prolonged period.

My problem is that space is VERY limited. My pram just fits into the boot with a small triangle left over. To prevent things I want to store from falling over and going everywhere when I take the pram out I decided to make a crochet basket that fits the space exactly. This will save me from repacking the boot constantly and means all of my 'emergency' items are to hand when I need them.



I wanted the basket to be sturdy and to have handles, so I decided to use 7mm polypropelene rope, and to crochet over it with gardeners twine. I've wanted to try crocheting with twine for a long time and this seemed like the perfect project to finally give it a go. In the end I used 100m of Poly rope and roughly 320m of twine.


As I wasn't following a pattern I put paper down in my boot and drew out the shape that I wanted the basket to be. This meant I could check my work against this when making the base, without running out to the car all the time. I used a 4.5mm hook on the base as I wanted it to be fairly sturdy and a 6mm hook on the sides as I wanted it to be a little looser and more flexible.



It may look a bit odd as it's not a conventional shape due to fitting round the pram, but I'm really happy with it. It might not be pretty, but it's functional! And I do love using something that I made myself rather than bought.



I had a big ponder about what supplies I would permanently leave in there as I had to be pretty ruthless with not having much space. I made a quick video about what I decided. If you fancy a nosy, click on the video below. And if anyone has any suggestions of things to add/switch out, please leave a comment and let me know.









Grey Flecked Crochet Scarf / Shawl


Roughly a year ago I posted asking for help, because I wasn't sure what to make with some yarn I bought. Well, I finally used it!

I ended up using a pattern called Coraline In The Wine Country from simplycollectiblecrochet.com, which Clare from the Youtube channel BobWilson123 has also done a video tutorial of.

I made mine in a chunky yarn with a 9mm hook, and I also made it slightly smaller as I wanted it to be a triangular scarf and not big enough to be a proper shawl. A wrap at most.

One of the things that I think is so wonderful about crochet is how a simple change of yarn or hook size can make the results of the project so different.

Anyway, voila! What do you think? It's a lovely pattern to follow. Simple and straightforward, so you can watch TV while you're crocheting and actually get to watch and not just listen! It worked up very quickly too.