Friday, June 21, 2013

fruit popsicles

We had a glorious first day of Summer here, much appreciated after a rather cool and rainy Spring. What follows isn't exactly a recipe, but an idea to get you inspired for tasty and healthy Summer treats.

Watermelon Popsicles

You will need some watermelon, a blender or food-processor, and some popsicle moulds. This is especially good to do with over-ripe watermelon that isn't as nice to eat as is.
Slice the watermelon, cut off the white and rind, then cut the watermelon into 1" pieces. Remove any seeds. Put the melon into your blender or food-processor and blend until very smooth. Pour into the moulds, and freeze. Easy as that! Any leftover blended watermelon is nice to drink.

Some other things that make tasty popsicles are unsweetened applesauce mixed half-and-half with unsweetened fruit juices (the applesauce keeps the popsicles from getting too hard for kids to eat easily). You can also freeze most fruit smoothies (although smoothies with yogurt may give you a different texture). You can try blending other soft fruits: first remove skins from fruits like peaches, and you may need to add a little sweetener to tart fruits. As a kid, I loved raspberry popsicles, made from just mashed raspberries with a bit of sugar (and these days you have so many options for alternative natural sweeteners).

I hope you have fun plans for the Summer to come!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

wee dragon

Here is a fun modification of my Wee Woodland Wuzzies pattern: a Wee Dragon! To make this toy, you will need a copy of that pattern *, plus the Dragon and Friends pattern for the wings (or some felt).

20 g of worsted weight yarn in variegated green (or whatever colour you want your dragon), 15 g of fingering weight yarn in light green (or green felt), 3 and 4 mm (US size 2.5 and 6) knitting needles, polyester stuffing, a pair of 6 mm safety eyes, yarn to embroider the face, tapestry needle, hand-sewing needle and thread (if you make the wings from felt)

Use the worsted weight yarn and 4 mm needles for the Body, Head, and Tail.

Work the body from the Wee Wuzzy pattern with the following mods:
After Row 10, work 5 rows of st st, instead of 3 rows.
After Row 14 (second set of bobbles), work 5 rows of st st, instead of 3 rows.

Work the head from the Wee Wuzzy Mouse, ignoring the colour changes. Alternatively, work one of the other animal heads, if you would like your dragon to have a shorter or longer nose.

Work the tail from the Wee Wuzzy Otter, adding 3 more rows of st st after row 16.

Stuff and assemble the toy as written in the Wee Wuzzy pattern. Embroider a mouth, nose, and some teeth on the dragon's face. You can also add extra details like claws and eyebrows.

Using the fingering weight yarn and 3 mm needles, make the wings from the Dragon pattern. Alternatively, cut 2 wings from felt, and sew them onto your dragon's back with the hand-sewing needle and thread.

I also used my questionable crochet skills to add this little ridge down the back (sorry I can't elaborate, I just mess around with a hook and yarn until it looks about right).
Bye-bye wee dragon!

*If you don't have both patterns, and would rather buy the Dragon pattern, you could use my free Holiday Mice pattern for the body and head, and improvise a tail - start with 15 sts, and gradually decrease to 5, over about 20 rows.

P.S. I'm going to start adding the "patternmods" label to the posts which fit under that category, so they're easier to find. But they will all still have the "tutorial" label as well, if you are used to finding them that way.

happy father's day

To our most excellent Daddy, and my own father, and all the other dads out there, I hope you have a fun day full of the people you love most. Thank you so much for being part of our lives, with your charm, humour, kindness, and strength, and all the ways you share them with us.

Lev and Daddy (Lev is about 5 months old here)

Kyr and Daddy (when Kyr was about 6 months old)

My Dad, showing off one of his favourite hobbies (although he has a different bike now)