Friday, 28 June 2013

Hookin' up a storm! Just recently...

I've made a whole bunch of hats for Baby Shmoogle Bean including this baby heffalump beanie (click here for free pattern)
This baby bird beanie (pattern adapted from my own Baby Bird Beanie, free pattern here!)
This adorable little pom pom hat made with scrap yarn
A few simple blue and grey baby beanies (free patterns here)
This simple baby froggie hat
A sweet and simple bumble bee beanie
But it hasn't just been hats I've been hooking! I've also made a few little cardis and jumpers including this super simple striped number (still needs buttons). The pattern is super easy to follow and free! Find it at Deb's Crafts!
I also came across the most adorable little newborn jumper pattern (click here for pattern!) and found I couldn't stop! I've so far completed these two, (well ok so I still need to weave in the ends on one but shhhhhh) and plan to make a couple more in some larger sizes when I can. 
There has also been a bit of charity crochet going on, with a little stash of hats being donated to St Vinnies for the winter. 
I started knitting a random scarf... I'm not sure I really know where I'm going with it but here's hoping it works out alright in the end! 
Then there is this deep plum beanie and scarf set I finished last week
And this rather spunky coloured crochet scarf....
And this crazy coloured scraps crochet scarf...
And this burgundy one....
And after all these crochet scarves there's this completed knitted one...
I also have this completed Bavarian Stitch/Catherine Wheel/Yarn Eater Blanket I finished last's not very big as I ran out of the yarn I was using and couldn't afford to get more but it still looks lovely nonetheless! 
How cool is the flip side? Looks pretty neato both ways really. 
And then right at the end here I have another one I started in blues and whites for Baby Shmoogle Bean 

There you go... that's all the crochet I've been up to lately. It may seem like a lot (or a little!) but it's pretty much the only thing I'm good at. Just the way it is :) 

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Eggless Peanut Butter Banana Cake Recipe

I have to say, ever since I tasted my first egg-free cupcake I was COMPLETELY hooked. In my opinion egg-free batters make for a more delicious, soft and moist cake and are JUST as versatile as your regular cake recipes... you can add anything to create the cupcake of your dreams and for some reason they just always work. Now I'm not saying I have anything against the humble egg. I still love my eggies, and I'm certainly not about to start substituting eggs in all my recipes (I love citrus tart too much to do that!!!) but as far as my cake baking is concerned, an egg shalt not grace thy Pyrex bowl from hence forth! Unless you know, there's a really awesome looking one on Pinterest that I just HAVE to make that contains eggs... gotta spread the tasty love right?
So I wasn't entirely sure on the quantities for this to begin with, I kinda just tossed the ingredients in and hoped for the best but it worked! Hoorah! You want to know something funny? For years I had no idea what the difference between baking soda and baking powder was and whenever I found a recipe that contained either, I'd substitute half my plain flour for self raising. Sometimes it worked, but as you can probably imagine most of the time it didn't. I never actually owned any baking powder until recently and now my opinion on it lies somewhere similar to the egg thing.... if you can use baking soda and baking powder in a cake recipe as a pose to self raising I'd definitely recommend it. It just makes the batter fluffier and takes away some of that density that using self raising can sometimes cause. If the recipe actually SAYS to use self raising though I'm going to use it but at least now I can stop skimming over a recipe just because it calls for two things I'd never used or even owned. Foiled by my own ignorance! Haha! But anyway, here's the recipe for a somewhat delicious cakey morsel and I do hope you'll love it as much as I do!

Eggless Peanut Butter Banana Cake
 Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius

1 cup lite milk 
1 tsp apple cider or white vinegar
3/4 cup castor sugar
1/3 olive/canola oil 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups sifted plain flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 large banana cut into slices
1 large tbs of smooth peanut butter

Grease and line a spring-form cake tin with baking paper, place banana slices on the bottom of the pan. 

Whisk together milk and cider (or vinegar) in a bowl and set aside to curdle a little. Meanwhile mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. After a few minutes take your milk mixture and whisk in the sugar, the oil, vanilla extract and continue to whisk until sugar has dissolved, oil is incorporated and mixture appears foamy. Add your dry ingredients to the wet in two batches, whisking all the time. Whisk until batter is smooth and lump-free. Mix in peanut butter. Pour batter over bananas and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Leave cake to cool for 10-15 minutes before taking it out of the pan. Place cake bottom up (banana-side up) on a cooling rack to cool completely. Don't forget to carefully remove grease proof paper from the bananas, could make things tricky if you forget and ice the paper... you don't want that derp moment, trust me.  

125g unsalted butter at room temp
1/2 mashed banana 
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup dried banana chips blitzed or crushed into smaller sized pieces

Using an electric beater, beat butter until it's pale and creamy. Add banana and icing sugar and beat together. You may want to use a bit more or a bit less icing sugar depending on consistency. If it's too runny add more icing sugar, if it's too thick add a little more mashed banana. Ice the sides and top of your cake and sprinkle crushed banana chips over the top. Boil the jug, make yourself a cup of tea and have a slice! 

27 weeks and 5 days ~ 86 days to go! Pregnancy so far

  • Dog fur on everything drives me more NUTS than usual. I cannot stand it! I want to shave my dogs.  
  • Nothing is ever clean enough these days!! 
  • Braxton Hicks have started... and oh my crumpets are they weird?! I get a few in the mornings and a few again at night normally when I have to pee! Or do the Braxton Hicks make me want to pee? Who knows! Either way they're weird. Nothing says 'you're growing an alien' like Braxton Hicks!
  • I still can't stand Garlic Bread EWWWW 
  • Bras are the devil. Not wearing a bra is also the devil. Can't win hehe 
  • I can go from hot to cold in 2.5 seconds and I don't mean in the *wink wink* kind of way. Feeling way too cold during the day, my feet never seem to feel warm and at night I'm too warm under anything more than two blankets. 
  • Bubba kicks all day and it's the best feeling in the world! I love his little wiggles, twists and kicks they're such  beautiful things to experience. 
  • If I lie still you can actually see little feet (or hands!) pushing outwards! 
  • Even though some people think antenatal classes are a waste of time, both myself and hubby found them to be very useful. Yes most of it is common sense but each hospital is different in it's practices and hearing how the particular hospital we are booked into goes about things was a huge comfort. I think I irritated everyone by the end of each day with all my questions! 
  • Still no crazy cravings! Well, not really the kind you see in movies where the woman sends her husband out at 2am for watermelon and Chop Suey anyway. I had one for a caramel latte frappe from McCafe a couple of weeks ago and it tasted like heaven but that could have just been that I was missing my coffees. Any cold dairy product is a win and I usually always feel like cold milk on cereal (I've been having a bowl of cornflakes before bed lately, lovely lovely lovely!), chocolate milk, custard, yoghurt, iced anything = yum! 

Things that now feel like Olympic sports:
1. Washing your legs in the shower/ Drying your legs after a shower
2. Getting into one's own knickers
3. As above with pants
4. Picking things up off the floor
5. Climbing stairs (or maybe that's just me being hideously unfit)
6. Getting out of beanbags.
7. Rolling over in bed
  • I've developed odd little OCD habits. For example I have to wash my hair everyday or I just rage. It's true!! I can't STAND the feeling of unwashed hair against my skin at the moment. Is that weird? I should probably get used to NOT doing that though hey? Other things include not wanting to cut my own fingernails because I can't stand the feeling of a nail file. It's the sound and the feeling, I just hate it! 
  • No heartburn! (yet) Does that mean a bald baby? Or it could have something to do with all the milk I've been drinking.
  • I still get sick in the mornings *sigh* but thankfully so long as I shove some toast down the minute I get out of bed it's all ok... except when I don't make it to the toaster in time. Not nice. 
So far so good actually :) I was having troubles with the information being given to me at antenatal appointments that were causing some stress but just thismorning I was contacted by the hospital and invited to Group Practice which has really lifted my confidence. It means I will see one midwife for the remainder of my pregnancy rather than whoever is on at the time and if she is available then she will attend the labour aswell (although that's not a guarantee it's still very comforting). She then visits me at home after I leave the hospital to check up on me and bub for a period of time. I'm looking forward to finding out more information next week at my next check up but it sounds like it will suit me and make things a bit more comfortable for me (what with the anxiety and all). We are of course still flipping out over the things we still need to buy and wondering how the heck we're going to manage it over the coming months but it will work out in the end. Or at least that's what I'm telling myself... I may lose my mind otherwise!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The ripple stitch and a real bitch

I started this with odd balls from my stash way back before I even knew I was pregnant and only found it again at the beginning of last week... you ever have one of those 'found a project and have no idea what size hook I was using' moments? Yep that was me! I worked it out eventually... I found a photo here actually from when I'd first started it (click here for the post!) and ta da! The hook was in the photo *phew* Oh and in case you're wondering, I only ever got that one scarf made but I donated it all the same :o) I hope someone found it and loved it! Wow thinking back you really wonder where all that time went, I've been told pregnancies have a way of dragging but I'm finding it flying by! That might be because I feel so unprepared, I feel like I need a LOT longer to get everything sorted out but bub will come when he's ready whether I am or not :o)
I spent my weekend working on it, it was meant to be around the other way (horizontal ripples instead of vertical) but I only had the 6 balls to work with and ran out; it didn't matter in the end anyway it fits nicely the size that it is.

Today has been kinda crummy, had to have my glucose tolerance test today which involved a god-awful sugary beverage that tasted like Off! Bug Spray mixed with sugar and wait around in pathology for an hour to have blood taken. In that time I managed to make a small child cry by speaking to him (I'm gonna make a GREAT mum!). After getting home I then had to call the midwives clinic about something you don't want to know about and had a horrid experience with a bitchy-midwife-from-hell.... the way she spoke to me was bad enough but removing/replacing your knickers in front of this woman was absolutely one of the awkward moments of my life. She's a midwife! She looks at fannies all the time! What was so darn fascinating that she had to stare at me the whole time?!?!  Yeah, I know, I realise come birth I'll be half naked and surrounded by strangers but that's not the point.

But anyway... I've likely mentally scarred you now. Sorry about that!
Back to crochet..... Now I'm SURE I have another unfinished ripple blanket stuffed in a cupboard somewhere but I might just leave it there for the time being to be found and worked on another day! Oh and hey, if you did happen to read that post where I first started this project, you'll remember that lovely striped elf hat with the pom pom I'd made? Well it was absolutely perfect for the little fellow it was created for, wouldn't you agree? I sent it home with his parents as a gift :o)

 I am seriously freezing my metaphorical nuts off at the moment (could that midwife SEE my metaphorical nuts? Maybe that was what she was looking at)... it's currently 4 degrees Celsius outside and probably bloody close to that inside our apartment; the hubby, the fur balls and I are holed up in the bedroom trying to enjoy to last amounts of heat radiating from our pathetic little nearly-dead heater. Hunger is becoming a problem and I know we'll need to venture out into the kitchen to cook dinner soon. If I become an icicle and never write again, it's been nice knowing you!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Seashells Baby Jumper Free Pattern

It has been one very dark and dreary Sunday here at Shmoogle Bean H.Q today; cloudy and overcast outside and me with horrible heartburn and you-don't-want-to-know-what-else pregnancy 'side effects'...hubby was out today helping a mate on their property so I had a VERY quiet day. So there I was happily asleep last night when 4.30am hits and BAM I'm awake. And I stayed that way til 6.50am! This pattern is the brainchild of my lack of sleep and was conceived in the early hours only to be very lazily worked on throughout the day to bring you a finally completed pattern now at 5.30pm! It's hard to focus on the uncomfortable side of pregnancy when you're crocheting cute little baby things :o) I hope you'll enjoy this one! Please feel free to sell the finished product, just the usual applies to the pattern itself... i.e it's not to be copied/reproduced in part or in whole anywhere, not to be sold or redistributed, photos are property of moi, etc. 

Seashells Baby Jumper ~ Size newborn to 3 months
You will need: 
4.5mm hook hook
8ply yarn in white
8ply variegated yarn 
yarn needle

Using 4.5mm hook and first colour. 
Chain 52
Row 1: Dc in 4th chain from hook. Dc in next 5 sts, 3 dc in next st, dc in next 9 sts, 3 dc in next st, dc in next 14 sts, 3 dc in next st, dc in next 9 sts, 3 dc in next st, dc in next 7 sts. Ch 3 (chain 3 counts as a st now and throughout), turn. 58 sts 
Row 2: Dc in each st across working 3 dc into middle st of previous 3 dc on last row.  66 sts 
Rows 3-6: Repeat row 2. 98 total stitches at end of row 6
What your work should look like at the end of row 6.
How to fold work to assemble sleeves.
Row 7: Dc in next 13 sts, fold work as shown to create first sleeve as shown lining up the middle sts of each 3 dc cluster. Dc through middle sts on both sides of work to create first armhole. Turn work, dc in next 26 sts. Fold second sleeve down as before, lining up middle sts of each 3 dc cluster and dc through both sides to form second armhole. Turn work, dc in next 13 sts to end. Join with a slip st to top of chain 3 at beginning of row. Finish off. 
Front view after completing row 7
Back view after completing row 7
Using 5.5mm hook and second colour...
Round 8: Join second colour yarn in sl st space of previous row.
Ch 3, 2 dc in same st, skip next 2 sts, sc in next, skip 2 sts *5 dc in next st, skip 2 sts, sc in next st, skip 2 sts* around to beginning. 2 dc in beginning sl st to complete first shell, sl st to top of ch 3 to join. Ch 1. 
Round 9: Sc in ch 1 space, skip 2 sts, 5 dc in next sc, skip 2 sts, sc in top of shell of last row, skip 2 sts *5 dc in next st, skip 2 sts, sc in next, skip 2 sts, 5 dc in next st* around to beginning. Sl st to first sc to join. Ch 3.
Round 10: Repeat round 8
Round 11: Repeat round 9
Round 12: Repeat round 8
Round 13: Repeat round 9
Round 14: Repeat round 8
Round 15: Repeat round 9. Finish off. 
What you should have at the end of round 15

Round 16: Join first colour in sl st space, repeat round 8. Finish off. 

Using 4.5mm hook and first colour...
Flip work over and join yarn in bottom of left side of opening, sc up the side, around neckline, and down right side. Finish off.

Join yarn in armpit of first sleeve, ch 1, sc around opening and join with sl st. Finish off. Repeat for second sleeve. Weave in all the ends and sew two buttons to one side of the opening on the back to complete the project. 

Please enjoy and happy crocheting as always :o) 

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Sweet as Cupcakes!

The oven in our lovely little rental is currently not working *insert extremely unimpressed face* and whilst we wait for the new one I can't actually bake anything. So I made amigurumi fibre art cupcakes instead! Ok so they're not NEARLY as tasty as the real thing but heck they sure are cute! I stumbled across the adorable little pattern at Bitter Sweet, it's free and fabulously easy to follow.... the cherries were my addition but working in rounds it's a simple magic circle, 6 sc in ring, 2 sc in each st around, 1 sc in each stitch around, 1 sc 1 scdec around, stuff, scdec around and the for the stem simple make a chain of 5, sew onto your cherry and sew the whole thing onto your cupcake :o) And to think just yesterday I was complaining about how much I disliked making amigurumi after creating Boris and now look at me! Hooked ;) 

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Say g'day to Boris the Dragon/Dinosaur!

RAWR! Meet my adorable new little friend, Boris. I've always thought Boris is a good name for a reptile. I whipped him up last week as a toy for Baby Shmoogle Bean and I have to say I'm pretty darn proud of him! He's put together like a tank so there's zero chance of little fingers pulling him apart ;) I keep saying how much I love amigurumi.... and I do I do! I like LOOKING at it... making it myself is a whole new kettle of popcorn (I'm not a huge fan of single crochet... I'm also very lazy *wink) but TA DA I made something! He stands nearly 30cm high and took me a full day to finish completely as I SUCK at sewing bits together but I managed ;)