My Free Patterns

Monday, February 28, 2011

Mug Cosy

Sometimes I have to laugh at the things that I knit--for instance, yesterday I made a mug cosy.  I really don't think my mug needs a cosy, but they are pretty cute, so I decided to just do it anyway.

I used the Mug Jumper pattern on Ravelry.

Yup, that's a brownie box in the background, to go with my tea.

What I have to say after finishing it (twice, the first time my gauge was way off), is that I'm still not satisfied.  It is too long for a normal mug, the one in the picture is a big mug.  Also, I don't really like the ribbing around the handle.  I think it gets in the way of holding the mug.  So while I wasn't sure I even wanted it to begin with, now I am going to keep frogging it and redoing it until I am satisfied.  I will not be defeated by a mug cosy!!  Plus, at the end of the day it is pretty cute!

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Girlie hair bands

I've been keeping myself busy lately, what with the constant rain.  I finished the tank top (or vest, whichever you prefer) I was working on.  Since it is winter I popped it on over a shirt, so I wouldn't freeze!I think it actually looks better over a shirt.

FYI my almost-5-year-old took this picture!

After I finished the top, I went a little head band crazy Here are a few things I've been working on:

cable head band

cable head band in blue

I knit the pink and blue bands flat and seamed them together, but I am going to have a think about knitting them in the round because the seam bothers me a little bit.  It doesn't bother the girls at all though, and that's the main thing.  

After I made the cable hair bands, I thought I would try a flower one.  I made the flower out of i-cord and the band is just moss stitch knit in the round. Next time I really need to switch to a bigger needle when casting off, because I feel it was too tight.  Again, the girls didn't seem to mind, but since I have to make another one (the joy of twins!) I'll see if I can't do better.

a model I can work with

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pasta with leeks and bacon

Perhaps what I should really call this dish is lonely girl pasta.  I tend to make it when I am going to be without the husband for dinner, because I love it more than he does.  I like this meal because I can have leftovers for the next day (or two) and that makes life so much easier.  And to think I used to shun leftovers.  What was I thinking?
When I make this, I don't tend to measure anything besides the yoghurt.  It is great as a fast dinner, because you can add whatever veggies  you have and it is filling.  PLUS, it had bacon, which to me, makes any meal better.  It isn't much to look at really, but sometimes looks can be deceiving!

Pasta with leeks and bacon

200g pasta (I like penne but I use whatever I have)
1-2 tbs butter
2 medium leeks, sliced
1 clove garlic, diced
250g bacon, diced
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup frozen corn
6 tbsp plain yogurt
1/4-1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling water according to package (until done really).  In the meantime, melt the butter in a skillet and add the sliced leeks, garlic and bacon.  Cook until the leeks are tender and the bacon is done.  Add the frozen vegetables and heat over medium until they are warm. Add the 6 tbsp plain yogurt, and salt and pepper as you like it.   Drain the pasta, and put it back in the pan.  Add the bacon-leek mixture to the pasta and give it a good stir to coat the noodles.  Now, you can either add the mozzarella cheese now, and let it melt and stir it in, or add it over the pasta once it is on the plate.  I am a lazy cook, so I just had it all at once and stir it around.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Gotta love Hats!

Back before the holidays I decided to make everyone in my family a hat for Christmas.  Except my Father, who got a tea cozy, and my Mother, who I had already knitted a hat the year before.  Why not my father you might ask?  Because my parents live in Phoenix, and really, they just don't have winters that warrant hats.  Or so I thought.  He emailed me a week or two ago and said they were having some very cold weather, and his poor little head was getting cold in the evenings.  Would I please knit him a hat?  OF COURSE!  I am always very excited to have work commissioned by someone, because then you know they really want it.  I set him to work picking out yarn (nothing too warm mind you), and patterns (hurray for all those free patterns on the web).  He picked The Tamalpais Hat version 4.

I have to say that the pattern is great, except for one little error.  If you choose to knit this, then Round 11 needs a correction (*K5, YO, Sl 1 K-wise, K2tog, PSSO, YO, K6*).  If you don't correct it then the decreases get all messed up and you will have to rip 1/2 of it out. 

me and my Ninja

Now, back  to work on my tank top.  I am almost done with the back, maybe another day or two and I'll get it posted!  After that I might whip up some more baby hats but time will tell.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What a week we've had!

Well, I've been busy this week, with a number of things happening in our small corner of the world.  My other half starts his medical finals this week, so he's been away a lot studying.  In the meantime, we got his placement for the next two years, and he is assigned the Aberdeen hospitals for one year, and the Elgin ones for the second.  Yippee!!  We love the north of Scotland, and will be happy to move back up there.  However, that means selling the house, and that means packing.  Ahhhhh!

This week I've been having estate agents around, finding a storage locker (yes, we have too much stuff), and even, yes, packing.  We are going to put a few pieces of furniture and loads of, er, crap, into storage so we can list the house next week.  All that and the kids have been off school, so things are hectic. 

In the mean time, I've been trying to get my craft on.  This past Christmas my mother made me a pair of fleece trousers that are heaven.  The girls were wanting a pair, and I've been surfing the internet for a good price on fleece.  It makes me sad that it is cheaper to buy clothing made in China than to buy the material to make it myself.  Anyway, the cheapest I could find was on Ebay and it was £3.99 a meter plus shipping.  Then yesterday we were in IKEA and as we were leaving I saw fleece blankets on clearance for 99p.  Now THAT is a deal.  Isla and Rori agreed, so we bought two, and took them home to whip up some comfies.

The girls weren't overly pleased at the light blue colour (though it matches mine), but given the price we reached a compromise.  I said I would doctor them a bit with some colour, and they agreed they would be happy.  

I decided to appliqué their first initial, use a patch we had from Granny, and on the other leg add some felt appliqués.  I'm rather pleased at how they turned out.

There is about 2" extra rolled in the cuff for the next growth spurt!

They past the kiddie test, Isla hasn't taken hers off since I let her try them on.  That pleases me beyond any thank you could!

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Braised Steak au Poivre

Having just made this for dinner, I felt I had to post it.  I cannot honestly remember where I got this recipe from, somewhere out in cyberspace.  I am terrible at printing something off and not writing down where it came from.  The recipe came about because every now and then we buy a bottle of red wine, and then I use it up in various recipes.  We're not big drinkers, but red wine does add a certain something to some recipes.

Braised Steak au Poivre

12-14oz (400g) braising steak
1 onion, chopped small
3/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs plain flour
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup (220ml) red wine or dry cider (I've never tried the cider)
2 tbs cream (or milk in a pinch)


Heat the oil in a frying pan (use on that had a lid that fits).  Fry the onion for 5 minutes.  While the onion is cooking prepare the meat.  Crush the peppercorns, coarsley.  Mix the peppercorns and flour on a flat plate and spread the mixture out.  Press the meat on to the flour on both sides to get it well coated.

Remove onion to a plate, turn the heat up on the pan and when it is really hot quickly brown the meat on both sides, scraping any leftover flour from the plate in to the pan.

Then turn the heat down, return the onion together with the garlic and some salt, pour in the wine.  Put the lid on and let it simmer as gently as possibly for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on how thick the meat it.

When it is ready, remove the lid, turn the heat right up and let the sauce bubble and reduce to a more syrupy consistency (about 1-2 minutes).  Then stir in the yoghurt till it is thoroughly combined.  I like it with mashed potatoes and green beans.  Yum!

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Baking Round-Up

After reading this post you will probably think I am an uncontrollable sweets junky........and you aren't far off.  I DO like my baked goods, and I feel that it is better for you, and your wallet, to make things yourself.  It allows me to control what my children consume as well.  They love to bake with me, and getting kids interested in cooking can only be a good thing.  This post is titled baking round-up because it is what I've been baking (and enjoying) the last several weeks.  I'd like to do a post like this maybe once a month, with simple, tasty treats.  Go on, be nice to yourself.

Lemon Squares!

Timeless and delicious.  I use the recipe from my Better Homes and Garden cookbook (a.k.a. the red and white chequered one), and you can find it here:

I cut the recipe in 1/2 and make it in an 8x8 pan.

The girls like juicing the lemons.

A powdered sugar shaker is a girls best friend.

These little beauties are scrummy!  I made them slightly differently than the recipe.  After they are cooked I brush butter on the top with a silicone pastry brush, then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar.  Excellent with a cup of tea.

Lime Bundt Cake

I had a few limes I needed to use up, so I went looking for a nice lime cake recipe.  The recipe I've linked to is actually for an orange bundt cake, but it was very tasty with lime.
It has a lovely tangy citrus glaze, which my girls weren't too crazy about, but my husband who doesn't love baked good like I do, really liked.
I kept catching him sneaking extra pieces.
That always makes me happy though.

Lastly, the humble scone.

My kids LOVE to cut scones out in fun shapes, and I love to eat fun shaped scones, so it's a win win situation.  And yes, there is a bat on that tray, I'm just not sure why.

I use the basic scone recipe from this cookbook:

I got this cookbook as a gift years ago when my girls were small(er) and I still use it.  There are some fun and really tasty recipes in it.  However I linked up to Delia's recipe, because it appears to be about the same, and is free.  This time we went all out and had them with strawberry jam and clotted cream.  So indulgent, and so good!  I don't have a picture of that though, we ate them too fast.

Happy Baking!

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