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Archive for January, 2011

It seems I’ve been on a serious crochet binge recently.

All I think about are stitches, slippers, teddy bears, and purses.

Whee!

I really can’t stop it.

What a life! I know.

 

A few days ago I found a new crochet stitch.

It’s called the ‘crocodile stitch’.

I fell in love with it… and made a purse using the stitch instantly.

It’s the one in the picture.

 
 

The stitch might look a little difficult, but it’s not.

It’s very relaxing actually.

Well, if you know how to make a chain stitch and a double crochet stitch.

And even if you don’t, they are easy to learn. You can find great tutorials here and here.

 
 

In case you’d like to see how to make the crocodile stitch itself, then you can have a look at this and this.

 

I wish you the most wonderful week.

Love,

Petra

 

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Days like the one I’ve had today are both great and terrible.

Great because I’ve found the most amazing and cute creatures in the whole wide universe.

And terrible… because I’ve found the most amazing and cute creatures in the whole wide universe… and I need them right now… and don’t have them right now.

 
 

Please, meet Momo.

 
 

And Happy Pinu.

 
 

They are totally, completely, undoubtedly alive.

And so lovable.

 
 

Hello Bibu!

Aren’t you just adorable?

 
 

Hi Miku!

You are super, super, super cute.

 

These heart-melting babies are handmade and produced by the very talented Aintzi.

This amazingly crafty artist runs an Etsy shop called Knitting Dreams.

That place is astonishing.

 

What do you think, my friends?

Don’t you just love those guys?

 

I am seriously considering getting one of them into my life somehow.

Either I buy one, or I make one.

 

Hm, making one would definitely be a challenge, but so worth the effort.

But then, I really love to craft.

And I’ve happened to learn that the lovely fuzzy hair, the secret of those guys’ look, is made of mohair.

I am already thinking about where to get that… so I’m getting a slight clue where this all leads…

Will keep you posted!

 

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I took this picture a couple of weeks ago.

It shows a magical street of a lovely city called Gyor in Hungary.

We like going there, it’s a nice place.

 

Since, as you might already know, I never leave my pictures untouched (because that would cause my brain to break), I had to open it in my editing software (Photoshop Elements Eight) and play with it for awhile.

This is what I did, step-by-step…

 

The original picture.

No editing at all.

 

I like the magic of the place.

I like how the shadows and bright spots interact.

I like how the history still lives and breathes there.

Captivating.

 
 

1. I applied the Pioneer Woman Boost Action here.

 

I use that action a lot.

It’s awesome!

 
 

2. Here I ‘burned the remaining haze’ a little using the Unsharp Mask.

 

That is my favorite editing technique of all times.

Actually, I once wrote a tutorial about it.

 
 

3. In this step, I used the Unsharp Mask again.

Only this time to sharpen the image a little more.

 

I’ll soon bring a tutorial on what settings I use to sharpen my pictures.
 
 

The final result.

 
 

And again – before and after.

 

In fact, the whole transition took me no more than 5 minutes.

Just a few clicks can lead to a very different, punchy and bold result.

 

What do you think, dear friends?

Do you use any of the mentioned techniques?

Let me know!
 

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I am an addict.

An addict for crochet slippers.

 

It all began when I saw slippers similar to these on craftgawker.

I loved them so much I couldn’t get their tempting image out of my head.

All I needed was a pattern.

But because I am terribly, terribly impatient, I found creating my own pattern quicker than looking for an official one on the web.

And since I’m no crochet guru, the pattern turned out to be really simple.

Actually, these slippers might be the simplest slippers in the universe.

Or not.

But they might.

 

This is what I did…

 
 

Round 1: 5 ch (chain stitch);  join into ring with sl st (slip stitch)

 

Round 2: 3 ch;  7 dc (double crochet stitch) into the center of the ring;  join with sl st

 
 

Round 3: 3 ch;  1 dc into first stitch;  2 dc into each next stitch; join with sl st

 
 

Round 4: 3 ch;  1 dc into first stitch;  2 dc into each next stitch

 
 

Round 5 – 13: (continue crocheting in spiral);  1 dc into each dc

 
 

Row 14: turn (!);  3 ch;  1 dc into second stitch from hook;  make 20 dc (1 dc into each next dc)

 
 

Row 15 – 21: turn;  3 ch;  1 dc into second stitch from hook;  continue 20 dc (1 dc into each next dc)

 
 

Row 22: turn;  3 ch;  1 dc into first stitch from hook;  continue 21 dc (1 dc into each next dc);  another 1 dc into last stitch

 
 

Row 23 – 25: turn;  3 ch;  1 dc into second stitch from hook;  continue 22 dc (1 dc into each next dc)

 

Row 26: turn;  3 ch;  1 dc into first stitch from hook;  continue 23 dc (1 dc into each next dc); another 1 dc into last stitch

 

Row 27 – 28: turn;  3 ch;  1 dc into second stitch from hook;  continue 24 dc (1 dc into each next dc)

 
 

Finish off.

 
 

Fold the end in half and sew it together.

Make sure it’s turned like shown in the picture  – with the seam finally facing inward.

 
 

Done.

 

Now for the edging:

Tie a yarn of the same or different color to the edge of the slipper.

 
 

That will make our first ‘stitch’.

 
 

Make 2 chain stitches.

Then make 1 single crochet into the next bigger (as I call it) ‘hole’. (Sorry. I’ve warned you that I’m no guru of crochet.)

Then make 1 chain stitch.

 
 

Continue this pattern (1 single crochet stitch; 1 chain stitch) along the edge of your slipper.

Finally, make 1 slip stitch to join with the first stitch.

Finish off.

 
 

And this is it.

 

You can adorn these slippers with colorful buttons, flowers or even crochet swirls.

I really hope you’ll find as much passion in making them as I have.

(Psst…I am already making cute pink ones. Of course, I’ll show them to you as soon as they are finished.)

 

Enjoy, dear friends.

See you soon.

 

Love,

Petra

 

(Oh, one important thing! These slippers were made to fit my feet, which are size 40 – Europe / 6.5 – UK / 9 – US. To adjust the size of these slippers to your feet you may need to change the number of rounds between the round 5 and 13 and the number or rows between the row 15 – 21 of this post. AND… I always use bulky yarn to make my slippers.)

 

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Chicken Stroganoff is a lovely variation of the well-known and famous Beef Stroganoff.

 

Beef or chicken, frankly, this dish is amazing.

Just imagine – tender chunks of meat covered with flavorful creamy sauce served over hot noodles.

 

And I haven’t told you everything yet.

Ladies and gentlemen… there’s bacon!

See?

You just have to make this…
 
 

This is what you need.

Plus noodles.

 
 

1. First, chop the leek.

You can also use onion instead.

 
 

2. Cut the skinless and boneless chicken breast into strips or cubes, whatever you prefer.

 

I parted that chicken myself.

Early in the morning.

There’s nothing like parting a chicken while drinking coffee early in the morning.

There’s certain magic to it.

Horror magic.

 
 

3. In a large non-stick skillet or pan, fry the slices of bacon over medium heat…

 
 

… until crisp.

 

4. Remove the bacon from the pan and cut it into small chunks (or crumble it).

 
 

5. Add the leek to the drippings in the pan.
 
 

6. Then add the chicken cubes/strips.

 
 

7. Sauté together for about 6 minutes, stirring frequently.

 
 

8. Now we need our spices: ground black pepper, red paprika, pressed or minced garlic cloves, and salt.

 
 

9. Throw all the spices into the chicken-leek mixture. Add the bouillon and bacon.

 

10. Bring the mixture to a boil. Then cover, reduce heat, and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

 

You may want to transfer the whole mixture into a smaller pot if you don’t have a lid that large.

 
 

11. In the meantime you can cook the noodles.

 

12. Also, in a small bowl, combine the sour cream and the flour and stir until smooth.

 
 

13. Add the sour cream mixture to the pan/pot. Bring to a boil.

 

14. Then reduce heat and let simmer for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Your sauce will become thicker and creamier.

 
 

Serve your Chicken Stroganoff over hot noodles.

 

Enjoy, dear friends.

 

(This recipe was adapted from ivillage.com and make 2 portions.)

 

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To watch a mega mood booster, just click HERE.

The music!

The video!

I die.

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Yep, that’s a healthy green smoothie?

I realize things like these are rather scarce over here, at this little place of mine.

But before you start wondering whether I’ve overcome a head injury recently, let me explain what’s going on…

 

I made this smoothie yesterday. That allowed me to tick off my first New Year’s resolution – to bring a little more health into my life.

Then I did three (3) sit-ups.

I was feeling amazing.

A new person was born.

 

Today I made a batch of cookies and had two glasses of wine.

So everything is back to normal.

The new person has grown up rather quickly, it seems.

 

Still I wonder what made me feel better, the alkalizing smoothie or the lovely wine.

Need to think it all through.

 

Here’s what you need to prepare this healthy beverage.

 

1. Pour the juice into the blender.

 

2. Add the lemon juice.

Minus the seeds.

 

3. Grab a handful of fresh spinach leaves.

They have rather mild flavor so they won’t affect the final taste of your drink substantially.

 

4. And throw them into the blender.

 

5. Peel the fresh ginger and grate it finely.

 

Fresh ginger is beyond healthy but very flavorful.

A little goes a long way.

We need just about 1/4 teaspoon.

 

6. And into the blender it goes as well.

 

7. Blend till liquefied and green.

 

This super detox smoothie is great for alkalizing your system. It is refreshing and packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and enzymes.

And when you drink it, you’ll feel like a new person.

Enjoy, dear friends.

 

(This recipe was loosely adapted from pattycake.ca.)

 

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