Monday, 31 January 2011

Valentines Cupcake Tutorial

written using US crochet terminology, number of stitches you should have at end of round is shown in brackets. I used a double knitting weight yarn and a size 3mm hook to give a nice tight finish

Sc - Single Crochet
Hdc - Half Double Crochet
Ch - Chain

The cupcake consists of two separately crocheted items- the case and the icing. Lets start by making the case:-

Cupcake Case
R1: Ch2,  and them crochet 6sc into 2nd ch from hook (6)

R2: Sc 2 in each Sc around (12)

R3: *Sc 1, 2sc in next sc* x6 (18)

R4: *Sc 2, 2sc in next sc* x6 (24)

R5: *Sc 3, 2sc in next sc* x6 (30)

R6: *Sc 4, 2sc in next sc* x6 (36)

You should now have a circular base, like the one shown here:-

Now for the sides of the case:-

R7:  Work 36 Sc in each stitch all around - for this particular round only, work in the back loops only to give a ridge, as you can see below:-

R8 - 12, single crochet in each stitch around to built up the sides.

With round 12 completed, we'll now make the lip of the cupcake.

R 13: *2 SC in first stitch from round 12, then 1 SC in the next. Repeat this pattern from the * all the way around. (54)

The sides of the cupcake should start to flare out like this:

R14: 1 Sc in each stitch around (54)

R15: Sc decrease over the first 2 stitches and then 1 Sc into the 3rd.  Repeat this pattern all the way around until you have 36 stitches.  Tie off your yarn.

You have now completed the case of the cupcake, now for the icing, which is made using the Hdc stitch - the entire icing section is worked in the back loops of the stitches.

Cupcake Icing

R1: Ch2, and them crochet 6 Hdc into 2nd ch from hook (6)

R2: Hdc 2 in each stitch around (12)

R3: *Hdc 1, 2 Hdc in next stitch* x6 (18)

R4: *Hdc 2, 2 hdc in next st* x6 (24)

R5: *Hdc 3, 2 Hdc in next st* x6 (30)

R6: *Hdc 4, 2 Hdc in next st* x6 (36)

R7: *Hdc 5, 2 Hcd in next st* x6 (42)

At this point the icing is almost completed and should look like this:-

If you want a plain edge to your cupcake, tie off now, leaving a long enough piece of yarn to sew to base - or like mine, you can add a frilly edging to the icing, as shown below:-

*Skip 2 stitches and  5 Hdc into 3rd stitch, skip 4th st and s.s into 5th* - continue from * - * all the way around the edging. Tie off your yarn, leaving a long enough tail to sew top to base

Assembling your cupcake.
Stuff the case of your cupcake with filler and then sew the icing onto the top edge of the case.  If you added a frilly edging, make sure you sew at round 7 so the frilly bit is an over hang.

When you have about 2cm left to sew around the edge, stop and put more filler in the cake, making sure the icing has a peak and doesn't sit flat - I use a large crochet hook to push it in.  Cut out, (or crochet!) a little felt heart for embellishment and glue (or stitch)  onto top - sit back and admire your creation!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Cupcake anyone?

With February arriving this week, my mind has turned to Valentines Day crochet, and lets face it - who doesn't like a cupcake?  I am putting together a basic tutorial for the above cake, it's a nice easy project for a beginner, and should just give you enough time to whip up a batch before the 14th ♥ watch this space♥

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Some more of these..

Another crocheted picture frame - I have a few of these butterfly prints I would like to frame, so might make a couple more to make a set.  These frames are really good fun to make (pattern from lola Nova's blog) and I had a go making a tiny one using an old curtain ring

I put my owl stickers to use with this one, probably a group of them would make a bigger impact though.

Friday tomorrow, thank goodness, it's been a tiring week - oh, and its the  last Friday of the month which means cakes in the staff room  - its the small things ♥..!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Shopping and Knitting..

Today, a shopping trip to a dreich Aberdeen (photo taken from the bus), where it felt good to be out and about scooping up a few end of sale bargains, as well as enjoying a coffee along the way.

I picked up some cute little stickers from Paperchase, no idea what I'll do with them, but couldn't resist..

..and some sweet little 'jammies' for my youngest from TKMAXX for only £3 - I felt like I lost hours today wondering around that shop marvelling at all the 'stuff' they stock.  Living in a small rural town, I don't often make it into the 'big city' and do most of my shopping online, but every once in a while it's nice to see whats new and to have a mooch around, a posh coffee and a spot of lunch - I returned home feeling quite invigorated and refreshed.

Remember I mentioned knitting in my last post? Above is my attempt at a face cloth - I'm not a knitter at all, I much prefering crochet for its instant gratification.  However, I forgot how pleasing a plain knit stitch looks, this cloth was knitted  using size 10mm needles (with a crochet border), so mega chunky and it knitted up pretty quickly - I was pleasantly surprised, perhaps this will be the start of something new?

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Fallen off the Blog Wagon...

Have lost my crochet/blogging mojo this past week or so, two things I normally love doing in equal measures.  I have been easing myself back in gently by starting a few mindless granny squares - and have even been trying my hand at a spot of KNITTING!!

Still addicted to reading other creative, crafty blogs and have discovered 3 new ones this week:-

A Foothill Home Companion

Maize Hutton

Misako Mimoko

Hoping to be back with renewed vigor next week! Have a good weekend ♥♥

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Are you an Anorak?

When I was a kid one of my greatest joys in life was reading my weekly edition of the Beano comic.  Unfortunately kids comics/magazines aren't what they used to be, and more often than not I try and steer my boys away from the trashy children's magazines on display in the supermarket as I feel most are a complete and utter waste of money, sucking the kids in with the free plasticy rubbish sellotaped to the front cover.

With this in mind, it was a complete joy to stumble upon 'Anorak' magazine -'the happy mag for kids'!

The magazine itself is printed on lovely heavy quality matt paper and is jammed packed with cool illustrations, cartoons, facts, puzzles and colouring pictures.

Unfortunately you are unlikely to find it on a supermarket shelf - I bought this copy from an independent bookshop in Edinburgh (Analogue books - very cool shop!) but you can buy it online, or  give a subscription to a child as a present perhaps? It's also worth checking their website, they even have a blog, bursting with fab ideas and illustrations - - you definitely don't have to be a kid to enjoy it!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Chocolate Biscuits..

I have a terrible sweet tooth and my biggest weakness has always been biscuits.  This goes right back to my childhood where I was often caught red-handed with biscuits hiding in my hand as well as a couple tucked up my sleeve.  Of course now I am an all grown up I have much more self-restraint....hmmm, yes...
Usually when I bake for the family I try and make slightly healthier things. I try and avoid recipes with too much butter and substitute sugar for honey, that kind of thing.  Yesterday I just fancied making something sweet and tasty, and these chocolate cream sandwich biscuits ticked all the boxes!

I have to say, for me they were a 10 out of 10 kind of biscuit - very tasty and of course they are now all finished.
Here's the recipe, I thought I would share it with you just so as I am not the only one breaking the January healthy eating code...

Chocolate Cream Sandwiches
125g Butter, softened
75g icing sugar
115g plain flour
40g Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3.
Place the butter and icing sugar in a bowl, and beat until light and fluffy.  Sift the flour, cocoa powder and cinnamon into the mixture and mix to form a dough.
Place the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper and roll out (very important, as stops the dough sticking)until dough is 3mm (1/8inch) thick. Cut out rounds (you choose the size!) place on baking sheet and bake for 15 mins, or until firm to touch.  Once cool, sandwich together with a filling of your choice (or eat them on their own unsandwiched)

I made a vanilla butter cream icing for the filling (butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract), sorry I don't have measurements for this, I normally just guess the amounts, and it's a good excuse to taste as you go!!

And just to confirm to you that I have defiantly fallen off the January wagon - immediately after making the chocolate biscuits I tried my hand at some shortbread - this is what we had for pudding tonight - well, you need a lift on a Monday night, don't you?

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Dressing Up..

The Internet, and in particular other blogs are a great source of creative inspiration to me, often bombarding my mind with so many ideas I suffer from overload.  Sometimes you chance upon a photo or image, that just sticks with you, seeping into your brain and motivating you to make a small, but positive change in your life.

The above photo had that effect on me.  Taken from my friend Jolene's blog The Precious East, I'm not sure if it was the pelican lamp, the small red case, the pretty tea cup, or just that everything looked so beautifully organised yet still interesting and eclectic.  The same day I saw this I started to think about my own 'dressing table' area in my bedroom - basically a dumping ground for toiletries, coins, receipts, make-up, and hair-clips - an uninspiring mess.  I headed for the kitchen and plundered my dresser for a few vintage teacups and a cake-stand and with my newly acquired charity shop lamp I set to work trying to make it my small corner of inspiration.

**Photo Update** - Thanks Nana Go-Go, you were in fact right about the mirror x

Visually, it's not as exciting as Jolene's photo, the shade isn't quite right for the lamp, and I probably need a few more saucers and dishes for complete organisation, but it is looking 100% better than before, and I am now wondering why I never bothered with 'mood' lighting before.  The cake stand works perfectly for stashing my day-day jewelry and accessories and I have filled the spotty case with my scarfs and crocheted bits and bobs. I have been thinking that this could be visually an interesting project to run with - a collection of photographs of dressing tables - they show you alot about a persons interests and personality - anyone else game for bearing all?

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Easing back into it..

Well, what a shock to the system yesterday was - back to school, back to work, early morning etc.. With the boys being ill over the holidays we've barely made it over the front door, so yesterday was hard-going.  Today however was a different story as Thursday is my day off!  I had a pretty perfect morning- A quick run and piping hot shower, followed by a rake around the local charity shops and then lunch and a catch up with my friend, Mrs G. The afternoon was taken up with a bit of cleaning and re-organisation of our sadly neglected bedroom (why oh why does our bedroom always turn into the main dumping area of the house? so much for it being a restful sanctuary!)

The biggest laugh of the day was the half-price sale at my local thrift shop - did you spot my new perfectly formed enamel teapot in the above  photo - 25p!!!!! Look at the lovely yellowness of it!! It's going to be perfect for the caravan! But wait, that's not all!! feast your eyes on my other bargains!

 A lovely set of six side plates - 25p..

A sweet little brown lamp -£1.00.  With the right shade, this is going be look perfect on my dressing table..

cute little cream jug - 25p

A book for Mr Northern Hi-lights - 5p

And finally, a bundle of vintage wooden coat hangers - 50p! I am particularly excited about these as I can see a bit of crochet potential.  last summer I made some crochet covers for a couple of similar coat hangers and was really pleased with the result - since then however I haven't been able to find any more - until now of course!! Nothing like a successful trip to the charity shop to get the old heart pumping and the creative juices flowing!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

New Year, New Stationary..

Sorry, couldn't resist a picture of my bargain iris's ( purchased on New Years Eve at our local supermarket for 10p, not to mention the 6 pack of Muller corners for 1p - love a bargain!)

On to the subject on hand, oh and HAPPY NEW YEAR by the way!!....Stationary...who doesn't love a bit of it? Every since I was a little girl, my sisters and I have all have had a deep passion for lovely pens, notebooks, paper, cards etc, and especially enjoyed family holidays to Germany, and a rake around the stationary floor of a department store, where they seem to excel in such items.  For Christmas this year I received 2 items of very lovely stationary from my brother-in-law who lives in Chicago and has learnt over the years that he cannot go wrong by doing his Christmas shopping for the females of the family in Anthropologie
I particularly love these retro feel recipe cards, these will be particularly useful for copying down the many recipes I have found on the Internet, but have never got round to printing off (coupled with the simple pleasure of hand writing a recipe with a nice pen...ahhh).  I am now on the look out for a suitable tin/box to keep them in - this could be the beginning of a new, more organised me!
And speaking of organised, who can fail to be with these gorgeous kitchen post-its..? ahhh.. just lovely...