Sunday, December 30, 2012

Joya del Mar

Hello friends!
It's been such a busy time at the SLD Headquarters throughout December, with Birthday, mini-vacations, ALL the Christmas festivities... I ALMOST forgot to post my "Pattern of the Month!" (almost)
I devised this quick little pattern to make a beaded bracelet a few months ago and I have made many, many bracelets since, in all sorts of colour combinations :-) They're really fast and really easy to make! We've been wearing them at the beach, the kids have been wearing them around their ankles (cute!)
What you need:
-Approxiamtely 40-50 Size 6 (3.5mm) seed beads. These are large-ish seed beads and they're easier to thread onto the yarn, but there's no reason you couldn't use smaller seed beads if you can thread them onto your yarn :-) Also, glass beads are better, especially if you plan to get them wet (swimming, bathing etc)
-Small amount 4 ply or Fingering Weight cotton yarn
-2mm crochet hook
-bead threader or dental floss threader or waxed dental floss (for threading beads onto your yarn)

 I didn't have a purpose built bead threader and I couldn't find any dental floss threaders, so I used waxed dental floss to thread the beads onto my yarn and it was very successful :-) Take a length of WAXED dental floss, approx. 25-30cm long. Bring the two ends together and gently squeeze it together with your fingers, the heat from you fingers will soften the wax and the ends will stick together (see the picture above)
 Thread your yarn through the open loop in your dental floss, as shown in the picture above.
 Thread the closed ends of the dental floss through your first bead, slide the bead down the dental floss, and on to the yarn, as shown in the picture above. Continue doing this with the rest of your beads.
 How ever many beads you think you're going to need, add a few more! Once you start making your bracelet you won't be able to add beads, so it's best to have a few extra beads, rather than accidentally running out :-)
 Chain 25, *slide one bead up to your hook, as shown in the picture above, now slip stitch into the 2nd chain from the hook. Now continue to do one slip stitch each of the next 23 chain (for a total of 24 slip stitches)*. Chain 70, loosely & evenly, but not so loose that they are sloppy :-) (You can adjust the size of your bracelet here. You need to have 25 chain either end of your bracelet to tie it up, but the middle section can be varied to any length with more or less chain stitches. When you're doing the chains, measure it against your wrist/ankle etc, then do the remaining 25 chain for the tie). Repeat from * to *.
 Now you will be crocheting your beads into the centre bead section. Insert hook into next chain, slide bead up to your hook, wrap yarn round hook (as shown in picture above), draw yarn through, wrap yarn round hook, draw through both loops. Continue adding beads in this way until you reach the first slip stitch section. Fasten off. Carefully weave in yarn ends. Enjoy your new Joya del Mar (Jewel of the Sea) Bracelet!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Little Vests Collection

Hello friends!
It's been a very busy few weeks here, as I'm sure it is at your place too!
Sick kids, Birthdays, a little holiday, Christmas parties and general festive busyness!
But in the middle of all of this I have been working on some new patterns as well :-)
The Little Vests Collection is now available through Ravelry and Etsy and Craftsy!
Each of the four patterns are available to be purchased individually or as a part of an e-book, which includes all 4 patterns!
 The simplicity of the pattern not only makes it a fast, easy project, but means it's suitable for little girls and little boys.
Perfect for experimenting with stripes and/or hand-dyed yarn. And it works up just as beautifully in cotton yarns as it does in wool yarns :-)
Available in sizes Newborn, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, & 18 months!
 Stay tuned to see some more new designs in the new year, including some little dresses, and all the Little Vests available in bigger sizes, up to a size to fit a 6 year old! :-)
I hope you're having a lovely festive season!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Olive, Feta & Rosemary Mini Muffins - Gluten Free & Fructose Friendly

Hello friends!
I have been busy cooking up a storm in the kitchen lately and I thought it might be a good idea to share some of the recipes here :-) I often get asked for the recipes to my little treats, as it seems even now folks are still having trouble finding nice, easy, cheap, fast recipes that cater for people with dietary restrictions such as gluten intolerance, celiacs disease, and fructose malabsorption/intolerance.
So here is a quick easy recipe for some delicious savoury mini muffins that can be enjoyed on their own or as a side to a tasty soup or hearty stew with lots of sauce to mop up :-)

Olive, Feta & Rosemary Mini Muffins - Gluten Free & Fructose Friendly 
2 cups gluten free self raising flour **
50g butter
1 egg
100g feta cheese, cut into 1cm cubes (or smaller)
1 cup milk (you can substitute with soy milk)
1 cup chopped, pitted kalamata (black) olives
1-2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary (can substitute with dried rosemary)
cracked black pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven 190C (170C for fan forced). Grease mini muffin tray (I used Olive Oil cooking spray) Sift flour into bowl. Melt butter, allow to cool slightly then beat egg into melted butter. Add butter & egg mixture, olives, feta, milk, rosemary & pepper to flour. Mix to just moisten (don't over mix :-) Three-quarter fill greased mini muffin tray.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden on top and when muffin springs back when gently pressed. 
Makes about 35-40 mini muffins. Serve warm!

**If you have no dietary restrictions this recipe works just as well with regular wheat self raising flour as well :-)

If you're not going to serve your muffins warm from the oven, simply zap them in the microwave for 10 seconds to warm them through, they're much more delicious warm!

I like to take these along to gatherings/parties/picnic/BBQs etc where guests are asked to "bring a plate" as they travel well, almost everyone can enjoy them and because there always seems to be an abundance of sweet treats when everyone brings something to share :-)

Just remember that not all of the ingredients in these muffins will be suitable for everyone with a dietary restriction, so if you're unsure, ask whoever you're making them for about each ingredient :-)
Enjoy! :-)