Saturday, February 21, 2009

If the Pants Fit & 5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

If you were to follow the pattern, with the correct gauge, hook and yarn, then if the pants fit, you've got yourself one huge baby !!! An online friend who is a fairly new crocheter asked me to help with a pattern that was giving her grief. Her baby is just on 5 months old and she was using the size for a 6 month. After doing a few inches she felt that what she was creating was a better fit for her 3 year old than for her 5 month old so she frogged it and gave up. I agreed that the starting chains were far too many and decided to make a pair of the pants for her so I could give her an idea of how many chains to start with to give a reasonable size for her boy. I improvised a little and for these pants, I used what would be between 0000 and 000 (between newborn & 3mth).

The pants will be winging their way to Alice Springs on Monday and I'll be interested to hear how the fit goes. It really makes me mad when commercial patterns aimed at beginners are incorrect.

Question .... How do you turn one ball of alpaca into this ??

I'll tell you how .... you go shopping with Nola !! She has a nose for Feathersoft 8ply and her enthusiasm for a bargain was catching. I also couldn't resist the other three balls of yarn in the front of the picture. My plan for the alpaca is to make a neckwarmer for a friend's sister, similar to the one pictured way back at the beginning of this blog. Now that I have got a picture of the yarn, perhaps my friend might let me know what colour she'd like ?

Finally, I want to share this wicked and dangerous recipe with you .....

5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

4 tablespoons plain flour
1/2 tsp cream tartar
1/4 tsp bi-carb
4 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional) or few pieces of chopped preserved ginger
small splash of vanilla essence

Whisk egg with oil, milk and vanilla. Add sifted flour, cream of tartar & bi-carb, cocoa and caster sugar and chocolate chips (if using). Mix well.

Put into a greased very large coffee mug (or soup mug) or small bowl and cook in microwave for approx 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake may rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed 1 Allow to cool a little and tip onto a plate if desired.
EAT (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slighty more virtuous). And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night !

Saturday, February 14, 2009

What's New Pussycat

Can you believe it ? Leonardo Da Kitty, Vincent Cat Gogh, Alley Cat Warhol have all created purrfect masterpieces and now we're going to unleash our cat's inner artist with her own Kitty-Casso Painting Set. Yes folks, a painting kit for cat's and it contains 5 non-toxic coloured kitty paints, art paper, paw protectors, picture frame and a surprise gift (for the cat, not us). Here's Madison checking out her kit.

The idea is that you put the art paper down, add paint, cover it all with the paw protector then let your cat walk all over it (or whatever), remove the paw protector, let dry, frame and admire for eternity !

The other thing I find it hard to believe right now is that my neighbours are enjoying the evening in their courtyard which is only metres from my house, and they had an open fire going. With gumtrees all around the place, its very dry and crackly everywhere and after the tragic events that happened in Victoria over the past week, one has become a little paranoid about fires. I noticed the sparks flying everywhere plus the smell of fire when I visited my ensuite a little while ago. I get on ok with these neighbours so I went and politely pointed out that maybe their fire could be a little dangerous. She told him to put the fire out so all should be well but the stench is going right through my house and is nearly making me sick.

This is not a fire but have a look at tonights sunset. I took this photo from my back pergola and just in the nick of time as it was gone five minutes later.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Relief at last

After about a week of heatwave conditions it was lovely to have a break from it today. I think the temperature was in the high teens to low twenties. At her usual time of 6.50am I was woken up by the dog to be let outside, then of course I went back to bed and didn't wake up till midday !! All my meals have been out of whack as I didn't finish breakfast till about 1pm, then lunch at 5pm. Just finished dinner and as I'm on weight watchers, I had to have this yummy dessert to try to get to my required points for the day.

I think I'm still down about 4 points so perhaps I'll have a little snack before I go to bed.

Tonight I've been tidying up my craft room a bit as I needed some purple wool to make a square for a friend on AustraliaCrochet. We're having a seven inch square exchange and eventually we will have enough squares to make into a knee rug. Its a nice way to remember good friends. I found the wool and made this square which I'll post off tomorrow.

The square is pinned to my 'blocking board' and it was hard to get a good photo because of the lighting and the dark colour. Anyway, you get the idea.

Monday, February 9, 2009

New Toy

My new toy arrived this morning - a Prym Knitting Mill Maxi. They say it takes about 15 minutes to make a beanie and they're probably right once you get the hang of it all.

I was getting a little frustrated trying to cast on but I found a very good instructional video on YouTube and managed to get my first hat finished tonight. I started it at about 9pm and finished at about 10.45. The cast off method is clearly explained here. Had to do a bit of repair work at the beginning but nothing major and you can't see it anyway 'cause I hid it !! I also made this one way too long - you learn from your mistakes !! Anyway, here's my first hat ..... ta da ..

Apart from being able to knit 10,000 stitches a minute, a good thing about this machine is that you don't even have to know how to knit. It can also do flat pieces but I think I'll try to master the tubular pieces first - maybe make a scarf or two when I get sick of hats.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Kitten Blankets

I forgot to include a photo of those kitten blankets. Here 'tis ....

Today's mail brought me a nice surprise from Canada. My partner in the Swap-Bot swap sent me a new dishcloth, a lovely bookmark and a very nice notecard. I don't know if the photo will show it but there is a heart knitted into the dishcloth. Jen said that as Valentines Day was coming soon she thought she'd make a dishcloth 'in honour of the month of love'.

I also received my first square in the AustraliaCrochet 7" square exchange from Alice who told me she just made the pattern up as she went along. I think it is beautiful and she's a very clever lady. I've requested my squares in this exchange to be done in either cream, emerald green or baby green. Way down the track when I have enough squares, I'll join them into a cover for my bed. Here's Alice's square - isn't it lovely ?

Tomorrow I'm getting back to that thread through scarf I'm making with that beautiful yarn called Joy from Wondoflex. Haven't done any for a few days as I had lots of jobs to do, including the delivery of a huge bag full of kitten blankets to the Canberra RSPCA. They were donated by the Knit4Charities online group of which I am a member. Each month we support different charities and since the group was formed we have donated 29,526 items which include things for babies, children, men, women, pets and wildlife rescue. It is a wonderful group and if you'd like to know more about it, click here

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Oh How the Time Flies

Yes, I am having fun !! While surfing the net looking for chicken jokes, I came across this game which I used to play years ago and had forgotten all about.

Play Flip WordsFlip Words
Make words and solve familiar phrases!

Play this free game

This free version only allows words of up to about 5 letters and it doesn't keep your score when each game ends - but hey, its free, its fun and boy is it a time waster !!

Anyway, back to why I was looking for chicken jokes ..... on Friday I learnt how to chicken scratch from one of my CWA friends. I've seen a tablecloth done using this type of embroidery and it was very fresh looking but I would never attempt something that big. I'm thinking maybe a set of placemats with a strip of the chicken scratch embroidery down one side - and perhaps matching coasters. This is what it looks like -

I think I prefer the 'stitch' at the top and reckon it might look ok as a border.