Monday, 23 April 2012

One for the mommies

So, this is proving to be more of a blog to flog (hehe) my general craftiness. I'm a little slow on adding new posts. I wish I could every day but I can't. Why? Simple, I'm a mom.

You all know what I'm talking about. I've got 2 under 5. They're wonderful, don't get me wrong but my entire life feels like a complete disaster with these 2 around. The messes, the shouting, the bruises and cuts, the messes, never ending laundry and just the chaos that never ends.  All the time .

Just this morning, after cleaning up a pile of  "leaves" (greens) off the floor, I was on my way back to my chair to finish my coffee and the half of a left over toaster waffle that I call breakfast I stepped on a juicebox... I'd just given it to the little one too. I didn't even pick it up I just sighed and kept walking. Awesome right?

I don't even know what this post is about anymore, in the 10 minutes since I've sat down to write this I've pulled my youngest off the kitchen table, gotten a cup of milk, cleaned up some cereal and it sounds like I'm going to have to get the youngest off the kitchen table again. 

I love them.  

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Those amazing crochet shorts! Free charts and written patterns of the motifs!

DISCLAIMER!This is not a project for a beginner in any way. Nor is it for the faint of heart. You're going to need a good working knowledge of crochet and garment making to pull this off. Or, just great big balls and a hell of a lot of patience. I don't have any actual patterns for these bad boys. I will share with you what I've figured out on my own, but that's all I can do. I haven't gotten them finished yet but I'm working on these.

So, these shorts keep popping up on pinterest. Aren't they pretty? They're also about $150 from letarte swimwear. Madness!

I've also been seeing a lot of 'where can I get this pattern'? I don't think you can.. But I will GIVE you the next best thing. I will give you the chart that I found (I can't remember where) for the pretty circles and I will accompany that with a written pattern for said chart. (I wrote this out myself, I did test it but it may need a correction or 2. Let me know, k?)

I'm also going to give you a written step by step of the bottom bit, which is just a pineapple motif, you may need to adjust the number of stitches involved to match the motif in the shorts (I counted 7 TR in the first round)
The first bit, the waist band is super easy, Just single crochet until the chain is as long as your waist (or hips-wherever you want them to sit) is wide. Then continue on back and forth until your piece is as wide as you like it. Remember you're going to fold it over and sew it into a tube for the ribbon to tie your finished shorts. It looks like they do a round of shell stitches along one edge of the waistband as well.

The next bit is just a bunch of these pretty circles:

Notes. join each round,
R1: 12 DC in magic ring. join.
R2: Ch 3 dc in same (counts as 2). 2 in each around (24).
R3: ch 3, 2 dc in same stitch (cluster) **Ch 2, 3DC in next stitch** (Repeat around)
Join last cluster to ch3 (don't chain 2 after)
R4:Ch 6, slst to ch2 space, **Ch 5 slst to space** last stitch is Ch2 & join to ch6.
R5:  Ch 6, 5 DC in Chain space, ch 5, 5 dc in same ch Space,
**Ch 5 slst next sp 3 times, ch 5, 5 dc in next ch space, ch 5 sc in same ch space** repeat 5 times,
last stitch is Ch 5 slst next sp 3 times. join.
fasten off.

The next bit is pineapple motifs. Upside-down and right side up.
I counted 7 Trebles in the shorts but the closest chart I could find has 9, So it'll do.

Written instructions are as follows:

R1:Chain 4 (counts as first double crochet).
R2:Work (1 double crochet, chain 2, 2 double crochet) all in the 4th chain from the hook.
R3:Chain 4 to turn (counts as first treble), work 6 trebles in the chain-2 space.
R4:Chain 4 to turn (counts as first treble), skip first treble, work (chain 1, treble) in each treble across, ending with the last treble worked in the top of the chain-4.Turn.
R5: Work (chain 3, single crochet) in the first chain-1 space, (chain 3, single crochet) in each chain-1 space across. Turn.
R6: Skip the first chain-3 space, work (chain 3, single crochet) in each chain-3 space across.Turn.
 R7:Skip the first chain-3 space, work (chain 3, single crochet) in each chain-3 space across (you will have one less chain-3 space at the end of each row).
On following rows, continue to repeat step 7; eventually you will have a row with only one chain-3 in that row. Fasten off.

Well, there it is, folks. Good luck! 
EDIT: I recently saw a link to this page which shows the construction of these shorts using circle motifs. I would imagine you might find it helpful.
Also I finally found the post I saved the chart for the circle motif from right here

Friday, 6 April 2012

Homemade yogourt, Almond milk style! (and make your own greek yogourt)

So, lately I've been seeing lots of make your own yogourt posts on blogs and websites. Awesome.
The basic method is to give your milk (about 4 cups) a little boil then cool it down to a baby bath temperature, then you add 2 tbsp of any yogourt with live bacteria cultures and maintain that warm temperature for 8-12 hours(I put a container in a bowl of warm water, in the oven just below the 150F setting) and taadaaa! Yogourt!

But, I can't have dairy (lactose intoler-boo!) I drink almond milk. It's super yum.  Searching the interwebs for a method of making yogourt with almond milk brings results that generally involve crazy things like making your own almond milk using arrowroot powder to thicken and using yogourt  starters from health food stores. Which is great, but I'm not going to do that. I don't buy those things regularly and I don't intend on doing so JUST to make yogourt. Not when I have store bought almond milk in the fridge and a 90% lactose free yogourt I picked up on super sale. So we improvise.

What I did:
I used 2 cups of almond milk and 1 tbsp of the yogourt
gave the milk a little steam and cooled it down then stirred in the yogourt and transferred it over to a container. Which I placed in my bowl of water in the oven then I just left it alone overnight. (about 12 hours).
When it came out though, it was basically liquid. Almond milk doesn't thicken so well. So I cheated and added some vanilla pudding mix and stuck it in the fridge for a few hours.
That didn't thicken it enough so I decided to switch up my methods and turn it into a Greek yogourt.

Did you know you can make your own Greek yogourt? Seriously, out of any old yogourt, either your home made stuff or that tub you picked up on sale. You see, Greek yogourt is just a thicker, creamier version of the regular stuff. It's just had most of the liquid strained out. Neat huh? All you need is a strainer with a container underneath it (to catch the liquid) and a cheesecloth (fold it in half, twice).  If you don't have a cheese cloth you can also use a coffee filter. I used a coffee filter.

How to make Greek yogourt:
Put your cheese cloth or coffee filter in the strainer, put the strainer in a bowl or over a container to catch the water.
Dump your yogourt in and be patient. Once it's a consistency you like just pour it on back into it's container and put it back in the fridge. Enjoy.

Final results are that while very tasty, the almond milk yogourt is still very thin. Almond milk just doesn't thicken. What I'm going to do next time to solve this problem is just use  a bit of corn starch and water boiled into the almond milk to thicken it. Then I'll cool it and carry on as normal. The pudding mix works fine, I just don't like vanilla and would rather it plain.

Let me know how yours turns out.