In Print…

Mollie Makes Crochet Cherry

In a couple of my past blog posts I’ve hinted at this project but I haven’t been able share it with you. Not until today!

Mollie Makes Crochet Cherry

A friend bought a copy of the latest issue of Mollie Makes back from the UK, and guess who has a project in it?

Not just in it, but including all the bits and bobs you need to make it yourself?

Me! *happy dance*

Mollie Makes Crochet Cherry

I’ve loved Mollie Makes ever since a friend introduced me to the iPad version of it a few years ago. I never dreamed I would be commissioned to create a project for them!

P1090717

I worked alongside the lovely Charlie to create a kit that allows each reader to make up their own Crochet Cherry Brooch.

It contains everything you need. Yarn, crochet hook and brooch back are included in the kit. The instructions are inside the magazine.

Mollie Makes Crochet Cherry

Copious thanks to Hayley Hay who took some fabulous photos of Munchkin and I. One of which was used in the magazine.

Nicola Pravato - Hayley Hay Photography - Mollie Makes Magazine

So if you’re in the UK, go and want a cherry to add something special to your favourite outfit, head to your nearest newsagent.

If you’re not in the UK, you can download a digital version of Mollie Makes or find my original tutorial online.

 


 

I’ve had such a buzz finding so many cherries all over the web!

Have you made one up? Link to it in the comments, I’d love to see your work!

 

 

Gluten-free Raspberry Friands

Gluten-free raspberry friands

 

I had an itch. I needed to bake. It had been so long that my Kitchen Aid had a light coating of dust!

The cover of What Katie Ate has been giving me cravings for friands for quite some time. They don’t exist here and certainly not in gluten-free form. The delicious raspberries in season provided me with the perfect excuse.

As I don’t have a friand tin I decided to use a cupcake pan and they worked fine. I adapted two recipes to be gluten-free. One from What Katie Ate and another from online aptly named “The Perfect Friand”. And then decided I liked a mix of both! They’re light and delicious. Not to mention really easy and quick to make!

My husband has requested I make them again, and as I’ve just collected the piece to make my ice-cream maker work, I have plenty of use for spare egg yolks. I think next time I’ll use plums on the top…

 

Gluten-free raspberry friands
GLUTEN-FREE RASPBERRY FRIANDS

Makes about a dozen

Ingredients
  • 4 egg whites
  • 60 grams of almond meal
  • 60 grams of gluten-free flour of your choice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of guar gum
  • 120 grams of icing sugar (not icing mixture)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100 grams of melted unsalted butter
  • Butter to grease pan
  • 125 grams of fresh raspberries

 

Gluten-free raspberry friands

 

Method
  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (160 degrees celsius fan forced)
  • Grease tin with butter (I used a cupcake tin as I don’t own a friand tin)
  • Whisk egg whites until frothy.
  • In a separate bowl, combine almond meal, sieved icing sugar and the pinch of salt together.
  • Add egg whites and fold in until well combined.
  • Gradually stir in butter.
  • Pour into tin, Filling each mould three-quarters full.
  • Place a raspberry in the top of each.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool slightly before removing from the mould. I needed to run a knife around the edge of mine to loosen them.

 

Crochet rattle ball

 

Crochet Rattle Ball

 

One of Munchkin’s favourite toys, ever since we bought it for her when she was just 6 weeks old, is a soft ball made of cotton that has a bell in it. It was fabulous as all the seams are on the outside and she could grab, throw and play with it very easily. And as she’s grown, she’s continued to enjoy it. Almost every day it gets launched across the room or skittles over the floor, tinkling as it goes.

 

Crochet Rattle Ball

 

I’ve a couple of friends who are pregnant and so I went to buy some to give as gifts. Only to discover that they no longer make them. So I took this as a sign that I should change the pattern, make it a whole heap more colourful and get crocheting! The only down side is that Munchkin has discovered them and now thinks that they’re hers. It looks like I’ll be making some more!

 

Crochet Rattle Ball

 

I started this pattern in much the same way as I did the crochet baby noise makers. By filling a Kinder Surprise cylinder with popping corn kernels and taping it firmly closed. But you can use film canisters, small take away sauce tubs, anything that you can tape closed and that makes a good rattling noise. Or you could even recycle the rattle or bell out of an old baby toy.

 

Crochet Rattle Ball

 

Then you get crocheting! I used a 3.5mm hook and 100% cotton. Just check the hook size nominated on your yarn and adjust the hook size appropriately. You don’t want large holes in your work so that little fingers can’t pry out the stuffing.

 

Crochet Rattle Ball

 

Crochet Rattle Ball Pattern

 

Stitches you need to know:

Magic Ring

Chain = ch

Double Crochet = dc

Single Crochet = sc

Increase (2 single crochet in the same stitch) = inc

 

Materials

Cotton yarn in at least two colours

3.5mm crochet hook

Cotton wadding (using this instead of normal stuffing makes it much harder for little fingers to get at it, but either will work fine).

Plastic container insert from a Kinder Surprise or alternate small plastic container that you can seal.

Seeds, Grains etc

 

Pattern

In yarn colour 1

Row 1: Create a Magic Ring and sc 10. Pull magic ring closed. Sl st in first dc, to join. (10)

Row 2: ch 2. dc inc 10. Sl st in second ch, to join. (20)

Row 3: ch 2. *dc 1, dc inc 1.* Repeat *to* 10 times. Sl st in second ch, to join. (30)

Change yarn to second highlight colour

Row 4: ch 2. *sc 2, dc inc 1.* Repeat *to* 10 times. Sl st in second ch, to join. Fasten off and sew in the ends. (40)

Repeat 12 times to make 12 circles.

Stitching below the last row of crochet using the holes in the crochet with a large needle. Stitch two circles together, using the increased stitches as a guide. Stitch between 2 sets of increased stitches as shown below.

 

Crochet Rattle Ball

 

Repeat with 4 following circles until your work looks like the image below. You need to stitch the sides together too, using the increased stitches as a guide again. Finish off and sew in your ends.

Repeat the above steps with your six remaining circles until you have two ball halves.

 

Crochet Rattle Ball

 

Taking the two ball halves, align the middle increased stitch on the open end of a circle with a seam on the opposing ball half. Sew together, leaving enough open to insert the filling.

Then, wrapping the shaker egg in wadding until it’s the size you want and push it in. This item is nice for younger children with less wadding making it softer and less likely to roll away. It also makes it much easier to grasp. For older children, you can make it firmer and the ball will roll if pushed.

Finally sew the remaining open portion together with the wadding and shaker inside. Finish of and sew in your ends.

I hope your little ones enjoy it as much as Munchkin!

Nicx

My templates and tutorials are free for personal use only.

T&Cs-2

Ramblings: Ten and a half months in; a report card.

Munchkin and I

 

I thought I’d be shopping for publishers right about now. I didn’t tell anyone apart from my close friends and some family, but my grand plan for the first year after Munchkin was born was to put together a craft book.

I thought that every day I’d wander into the studio during Munchkin’s nap time and that by the end of a year I’d have a book.

We’re ten and a half months in, and I’m not even close.

What I do have is a pile of paper cut thank you cards for beautiful presents given to Munchkin. They’re so late that I’m not even sure I should bother sending them. She’s grown out of pretty much all she was given.

My gym/ pool/ spa membership has lapsed because I didn’t have the energy to go after my husband got home from work. There’s no point paying for something I wasn’t using.

My brain was mush. I had lists for lists for lists and I’d still forget things. Repeated trips to the grocery on the same day became regular.

The house was tidy (most of the time), Munchkin was clean, fed and clothed (most of the time), my husband and I were eating well (except for dodgy takeout Friday night). But in all other things, it felt like too much effort to tie my shoelaces.

I was more exhausted post baby than when I was carrying her.

“Baby brain”, They said.

“Motherhood”, They said.

I didn’t get depressed, but I got seriously concerned.

I decided to quit the blog. Then I got a commission for a magazine. It took every ounce of energy I could muster but completed it.

Where was the driven woman I used to be? Was this motherhood? Did I just have to adjust my expectations further? How was I going to stay sane?

It became clear that if we didn’t do something I would start to resent motherhood. The festering seeds of resentment had already started to sprout in other areas. Seeing DM leave for work each morning had me wishing I was getting dressed, eating breakfast and heading to work to do something productive.

We hired a baby sitter for two afternoons a week. Each time she and Munchkin walked out the front door, I made a beeline straight into the studio. After the 2 minute pity party when Munchkin stopped getting upset she was leaving me and instead waved goodbye with a big smile, I got to work. It felt great.

But then I got so exhausted that when they left, I went to bed.

I decided to put the blog on hold for a year. But then some of you gorgeous people wrote me encouraging emails, and I decided to stick with it a bit longer.

But still I had no energy.

I got frustrated. My fuse was short.

“Depression”, They hinted.

Maybe I wasn’t mum material? Was I aiming too high? Was it possible that our hopes of my continuing a part-time creative career whilst being a mum were just not possible?

“Rubbish**”, my brain said. There had to be something more wrong. If it was depression, I’d get treatment for it.

I finally took myself off to the doctor.

All it took was some iron infused and some vitamin B supplements.

The lights turned on.

Foggy brain started clearing within hours. Energy increased in the following days. Happiness levels rocketed. Creativity returned.

I hit the studio.

Then a slight bump in the road, the babysitter found full-time work and quit. But Munchkin was accepted into the daycare centre for two half days per week and she starts mid August.

I’m looking for a new gym membership. I’m back in the studio. I’m no closer to having a book, but I have some other collaborations and fun works in progress.

 

I’m giving myself an A for effort and a C for execution.

I should have listened to myself a lot sooner.

‘They’ were wrong.

And Munchkin?

She’s perfect. A+

 

**Or some other non PG rated word