Beak Up Crafts

I'll craft anything once


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How to… Crochet an iPad Mini Cover

This is a really nice and simple crochet project and something I made a few months after first picking up a hook and some yarn for the first time.

I thought it would be a nice project for the sunny spring days as you can use pretty bright colours.

I was struggling to find an iPad Mini case that I loved so I decided to make one for myself! My first effort was a bit wonky but for my second try I made a pocket-like pouch which worked perfectly, so I made another one for Wayne too!

IPad Mini covers

You can either choose to make the case in the same colour or mix it up with stripes. The pattern I’ve written below is for both, but if you want to make one in a block colour simply ignore the bits where it says to change yarn and keep on going!

What you will need:

Aran wool/yarn in one or two colours
A crochet hook – 4.5mm
Two buttons
A darning needle

Stitch description:

Ch – chain
Hdc – Half double crochet
St – stitch

Pattern:

Ch 27 (This should be long enough for the width of an iPad Mini, but if your tension is a bit tighter you may want to add extra stitches and adjust the numbers for the rest of the pattern accordingly).

R1: Using yarn A, Hdc in the 2nd ch from the hook. Hdc across in the outside loops only.
When you get to the end of the row instead of turning, continue around, working into the other loop of the starting chain. This is where you are creating the bottom of the pocket. This will bring you all the way round to the first Hdc (54).
At the end of the first round, crochet your next stitch in the first Hdc you made to join and finish the row, then mark this with a stitch marker. Move the stitch marker up with each completed round.

For the plain case:
R2-30: Hdc in each st around (54). Go to R31.

For the stripey case:
R2-3: Hdc in each st around (54). At the end of the third round change to yarn B in the final stitch.

R4-6: Hdc in each st around (54). At the end of the third round change to yarn A in the final stitch.

R7-9: Hdc in each st around (54). At the end of the third round change to yarn B in the final stitch.

R10-12: Hdc in each st around (54). At the end of the third round change to yarn A in the final stitch.

Repeat alternating the colours until you have completed round 30.

R31: At this stage, your iPad Mini should fit the in cosy (check!) but if not, you may wish to add extra rows to ensure a snug fit. This all depends on the tension you are crocheting with. Now you will make the flap for the case on one side only. Hdc in each st (27) then turn.

R32-33: Hdc in each st (27)  then turn.

Fasten off.

Fold the flap over and position the buttons in the right place before sewing them to the cosy.

Ch 8. Make a loop and stitch this to one side of the flap so it loops over the button to close the cosy. Ch 8 and repeat on the other side.

And that’s it! You have made a cute, bright and cheap iPad Mini cover!

I hope you enjoy using this pattern and I would love to see any iPad Mini crochet covers you make! If the pattern doesn’t make sense or if you have any questions please ask and I will be happy to help!

Kate x

 


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How to Make: A Rainbow Granny Square Blanket

Hello everyone,

I recently finished my first ever granny square blanket and thought it would be nice to pass on how to make one to anyone who is looking for help.

As a beginner in crochet, a granny square was the first thing I ever learned how to make. Practice makes perfect and I used it to help me get used to keeping the right tension while making something small that I could finish pretty quickly. However, making granny squares turned out to be quite addictive, so I carried on and soon had enough for a baby blanket!

This post will show you how to make a granny square, how to put granny squares together and how to make a rainbow border for your blanket.

You will need:

  • Different colours of wool/yarn. I used Aran yarn and had eight different colours, but the number is up to you depending on how you want the squares to look.  I had white, yellow, purple, fuschia pink, turquoise, charcoal grey, dark blue and mid blue.
  • 1 x crochet hook (I used a 4.5 (7) hook, but this depends on the type of yarn you use)
  • Time and patience!
Granny squares

My first granny squares!

  1. Make your first granny square. I looked around for the best videos on YouTube showing how to make these small woolly squares, and the best I found were by Bethintx1. They are really easy to follow and take you through every step and I would really recommend them to anyone here.
  2. Once you have made one granny square, if you would like to make a blanket the same size as the one I did you will need to make 29 more! That will make a blanket of 5 squares x 6 squares, although of course you can go bigger or smaller if you wish! Have fun with the colour combinations and maybe try to make 30 different colourways if you have enough different shades of yarn.

    Granny Squares

    Lots and lots of granny squares

  3. Fasten your squares together. After asking for some help on this blog, I was recommended Attic24‘s method of crocheting the squares together using a simple slip stitch method. I can confirm that this was a really easy way to put them all together.
    Border and no border

    Border and no border

    As my squares were in a variety of colours, I decided to single crochet a white border around each one before putting them together using white yarn to make sure the stitch colour was neat and uniform. If you don’t know how to do a single crochet you can find out how here, while Attic24’s granny square method is here.

  4. Finally, make the rainbow border! I picked out colours from my blanket for the border but you can choose any colours you like. I did mine in rainbow colours, starting at the bottom of the rainbow with white, then blue, working through turquoise, yellow, purple and finishing off with hot pink. To do this, I did rounds of half double crochet – one round in each colour – fastened off and crocheted over the fastened end with the next row. For the final row, I weaved the tail in using my hook. I chose to do half double crochet stitches for a bit of height so you could see each one of the colours while keeping the rows solid. If you don’t know how to do a half double crochet stitch you can find out how here.

    Blanket corner

    Blanket corner

And that’s how to make a granny square blanket with a rainbow border!

I hope you find this tutorial useful, but if not please let me know and I will try to help/change the instructions to make it clearer.

I would love to see any blankets you make so if you do make one please leave a link to some pictures in the comments section!

Kate x


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Monday Morning Matters – Why Sugar leaves a bitter taste

Hello everyone, happy Monday, and here’s hoping this week will be another lovely one!

For me, today is something of a landmark. In exactly a month’s time, I will be getting married!

As a result of this (and the fact I couldn’t quite do up my wedding dress at the last dress fitting just before Christmas) I have been on a diet, and that’s what I wanted to talk about today.

Sugar

When Sugar isn’t quite so Sweet…

I have put on about a stone in weight over the last couple of years. This is totally down to me being a lazy so-and-so and my absolute love for cake, pizza and everything massively calorific. If only I could love salad in the same way.

Still, the wakeup call came last December, when, all excited to be trying on my almost-completed wedding dress, the realisation hit that I had put on one too many pounds and the zip wouldn’t reach the top.

I was gutted.

I mean, I had (half-heartedly) tried (and briefly succeeded) then failed in losing the odd bit of weight in the previous year, but the amount of time left until the wedding meant I all-too-easily slipped back into my old ways and put it all back on again.

Well not this time. With just over two months until the “I dos” and the prospect of not being able to squeeze my carcass into my wedding dress, I knew I had to do something. The only problem was, it would mean changing the habits of a lifetime.

It was pretty obvious what my problem was – my sweet tooth and the fact I ate so many refined carbohydrates in bread, pasta, noodles, cakes and the like. Oh, and my aversion to doing exercise.

Cupcakes - a major weakness

I did a lot of reading around on the internet and was interested in the research that sugar and not fat is believed to be the thing mostly to blame for expanding waistlines. Not just the obvious sugar in sweets and cakes, but stealth sugar found in other places – like in a slice of bread, in tin of baked beans or in good old “healthy” tomato soup. I won’t bore you with it here, but there is so much research now as to why refined sugar and added sugar is so bad, instead calling for a return to more natural foods in their natural states.

So off I went, cutting out sugar, checking labels and dismissing anything with sugar listed in the first three ingredients or with a high amount of sugar  included.

And do you know what? In the last month I have lost about 10 pounds in weight!

Yes it has meant changes and sacrifices, although I do allow myself to have one “cheat” meal a week where I have whatever I want (last week it was pizza, the week before that it was a burger and a mini chocolate cake). I think that helps as I know I can still have a bit of what I want every week.

The Basic Rules

I kind of distilled a few things that I read and came up with this, which seems to work for me:

  • I only eat when I’m hungry
  • I have porridge or eggs for breakfast. These keep me full, have no sugar and are in their natural state (although I do occasionally have bran flakes, which I know are bad, but then have no more sugar that day).
  • I aim for a total of five teaspoons worth of sugar a day in the food that I eat. This means I’m not eating anything too bad and helps me to keep on track. An easy way to work out how much sugar in something is to divide the number of grams of sugar it says on the packet by four to get the number of teaspoons, eg: There are 35 grams of sugar in a can of Coca Cola. Divided by four this equals 8.75 teaspoons of sugar! I find this helps me to visualise it much better.
  • I don’t have anything which lists sugar (or fructose, glucose, corn syrup or any other sneaky name for sugar) in the first three ingredients
  • I have a few nuts, a banana or some hummus for a snack
  • Soup is my friend! Well, the low sugar vegetable variety. Quick and easy and keeps me full.
  • I use Stevia instead of sugar to put on the top of porridge. It’s a natural sweetener derived from a plant and contains no calories or fructose!

I still have some bad things like potato wedges on “good” days, but not big portions – just enough to fill me without going over the top!

Well, it’s working for me so far. I don’t really need to lose any more for the wedding but I’m determined to stay on track this time.

I just thought I would share this in case anyone else is thinking of going sugar free or at least giving it a try in a bid to drop a few pounds. It need not mean a shopping list filled with a load of expensive items like The Clean and Lean Diet book suggests.

So are you going sugar free? If so how is it going for you? Have you noticed a difference in your weight or anywhere else?

Kate x


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Product Review: PlastiKote Fast Dry Project Enamel

Hello again, I hope you’re all having a lovely week and have some nice things planned.

For me, I’m still in full-on wedding mode (36 days to go and counting!), which means my craft projects are still very much wedding-based at the moment. This week it’s been like a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – with spray paint!

My latest bit of DIY has seen me use product I’ve never used before, and I thought I would share a quick review in case you might be thinking of trying out something like this yourself.

The product I used was PlastiKote Fast Dry Project Enamel, or for want of a better term – fancy spray paint. The purpose? To paint some teapots a different colour.

I needed to find some teapots in different colours for some wedding decor, but after searching high and low on eBay, in charity shops and anywhere else I could think of, the only ones I could find that were perfect for what I wanted were very pricey.

Then Wayne had an idea – we had been given some teapots by the lovely people at Yorkshire Tea (this is another story!) – and why couldn’t I just spray them a different colour? Genius!

Yorkshire Tea tepot

So after a bit of research off I went to our local DIY store, where I bought a small tin of PlastiKote Fast Dry Project Enamel in bright yellow and one in sky blue.

The teapots I was painting were a bold red, with a black logo on the front (above) so I guessed they might take a bit of disguising. However, I had a look on PlastiKote’s Facebook page and there were plenty of examples of the paint being used for different purposes, and thought it would fit the bill.

The instructions on the spray paint say:

  • Several thinner coats of paint are better than one thick coat
  • Make sure you spray in a well-ventilated area (essential as it stinks and I imagine would give you a massive headache and would be dangerous)
  • Spray from a distance of 20-30 centimetres
  • The paint is touch dry in about an hour (when you can do a second coat) and totally dry after three hours
  • Each small tin is enough to cover 1.2 metres square – plenty for one teapot

Round one

I started off with the yellow paint, and I’ve got to say, this did not cover the old colour of the teapot as well as the sky blue did. After the first coat (where I got a bit too close and put too much, causing it to run!) I could still see the old logo peeking through.

This did not seem to happen with the sky blue, which covered it a lot better.

Round two

I let the paint dry (went off and had my dinner) then came back to do a second coat, this time turning the teapots upside down as I had missed the bottom in the first coat. I’m not sure why, but the yellow paint still didn’t seem to cover as well, and despite me now knowing how much paint to apply after my earlier mistake, it still seemed to run a lot with the yellow – but weirdly not with the blue. Maybe the yellow paint is a bit thinner?

Sky blue round two

Anyway, I left them to dry, with little trickles running down the side of the yellow teapot. Very annoying, but wiping them just caused more mess.

Round three

The final coat of the blue paint and the new blue teapot looks pretty good. As for the yellow, it didn’t turn out too well in the end, as after yet another coat, you could still see the logo and there are some really annoying paint runs. I’m half thinking about doing it again on another teapot, but it would mean buying more of the stuff and it possibly not working again. Maybe I will just have to try and find a yellow teapot after all…

Blue and yellow teapot

Would I recommend it?

Yes and no. I would recommend the sky blue paint – it covered really well, even the black logo. The yellow paint, on the other hand, did not provide anywhere near as good coverage, seemed to be runny and was much more hard work.

Kate x


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Monday Morning Matters

Hello everyone!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend? What did you get up to?

So the big news this week is that Wayne and I have WON A HONEYMOON TO MALAYSIA!!

I know, pretty amazing, right?!

It was all a bit of a shock to say the least when I found out last Monday that I was the winner of a competition run by Brides magazine.

Last year I entered a whole stack of competitions on their website but never thought I had any chance of winning them. That’s probably why when an email popped into my inbox entitled “Congratulations on winning your honeymoon!” I almost didn’t open it as I thought it was just spam!

It’s a good job I did, though, as it turns out it was legitimate and I had indeed won a 10-night honeymoon for Wayne and I after our wedding next month.

And breathe!

A lovely lady called Lizzie from Turquoise Holidays then spent last week organising it for us and sent us the itinerary on Friday. It’s pretty unbelievable still to be honest. We will be spending three nights at The Majestic Hotel in Kuala Lumpur before transferring to Pangkor Laut for seven nights where we will be staying in a Sea Villa, which stands on stilts over the sea!

I still can’t believe it. We would never have been able to afford a honeymoon like this ever in a million years – so we’re not going to Spain after all and are booked in to have our travel vaccinations this week.

Blimey – what a start to 2014!

In other news, I had my wedding makeup trial (which went very well), Wayne and I did the table plan (which I just have to make – have got an idea, though!) and we had a great meeting at our wedding venue and with our florist which answered a lot of questions. So all good!

I’m off to go and pinch myself to double check that I’m not dreaming…

So what is your news?

Kate x


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Feeling Fat (Quarters)

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all well! It’s Friday again! Do you have any nice plans for the weekend? Wayne and I are going out for tea with a couple of friends tonight then tomorrow I’m having a makeup trial for the wedding. I’m a bit nervous as I’ve never had one before but fingers crossed it will go well and I won’t end up looking like I’ve had a run in with some Ronseal wood stain or like a painted doll…

Anyway, after last week’s post where I asked for some help with my new sewing machine – thanks again to everyone who took the time to read my post and offer brilliant advice, I really appreciate it – I have a quick update.

OK, so I haven’t been brave enough to actually try and sew anything yet but I have made a step in the right direction by buying some fabric to practice with.

Here it is, isn’t it pretty:

One thing I do like is that the material comes in a size known as a Fat Quarter. This is a new one on me but I think it’s a brilliant name. Quite why there isn’t a Slim 16th or a Fat Eighth is called a Fat Eighth (when really it’s not that fat) I don’t know, but I like it all the same and I’m looking forward to making a start.

That reminds me, I must buy some batteries for my mini sewing machine.

I have to admit, my crafting has kind of taken a back seat this week as wedding planning has taken over. I guess that’s what happens when you’re just over a month away from saying “I dos”. Things are all on track, but meeting with the venue and florist, writing notes and ticking things off lists means apart from the crochet bird cake toppers, I haven’t had time to try and get to grips with my new sewing machine. Hopefully I will get the chance next week!

Speak to you then!

Kate x