Saturday, October 28, 2017

Cross Stitch Alien Coasters - Free Crochet Pattern

A few weeks ago, I settled on designing some skull coasters for this weekend. I drew out my skull stitch pattern on some grid paper - 3 different ones to be exact, and then I worked up a base to cross stitch into. As soon as I was done with my stitching, I turned my head and looked at my finished coaster, and I did not see a skull... I saw an alien! I think with some tweaking, it can definitely be a spooky skull, but I thought the idea of an alien was quite amusing! And so fun! And still a little spooky. 

Materials:
     - 15 Yards of Worsted Weight Cotton Yarn - I used Crafter's Secret Cotton Yarn from Hobby Lobby in Black, White and Gray
     - H8/5mm Crochet Hook
     - #18 Tapestry Needle for Weaving in Ends and Cross Stitching

Material Notes:
     Yarn Alternatives: Lily Sugar n Cream, Bernat's Handicrafter, Peaches n Cream, Lion Brand's Kitchen Cotton

Time Spent:
     I spent just over half an hour per coaster.

Measurements:
     With border, 3.88" Wide by 4.5" Tall.

Abbreviations:
     SC - Single Crochet

Pattern Notes:
     How to Work an Invisible Join - see my Basic Washcloth Pattern for a photo tutorial.

     How to Cross Stitch on Crochet - see my Cross Stitch Heart Earrings Tutorial for photo tutorial.

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Patterns:
     
Coaster Base:
     Chain 13. SC into the 2nd chain, and into each chain across. (12 SC)

R2 - 15: Chain 1, turn. SC into the 1st SC, and into each SC across. (12 SC)

Border: Chain 1, turn. SC into the 1st 11 SC, 3 SC into the next stitch - corner, evenly SC 14 down the side, 3 SC into the next stitch - corner, SC into the next 10 stitches working into the opposite side of the foundation chain, 3 SC into the next stitch - corner, evenly SC 14 up the side, 2 SC into the 1st stitch and slip stitch join OR 1 SC into the 1st stitch and work an invisible join.

Fasten Off, and Weave in Ends.

Alien:
Cut a long piece of the contrasting color, and thread tapestry needle. Follow the chart to cross stitch alien on. I started at the top of the farthest left side, and worked my way across vertically. Make sure to anchor the beginning tail by weaving under several stitches, as well as weaving in the end tail at least twice under several stitches. The bold black line of the image represents your coaster prior to adding border.

If you are concerned with the visible stitching on the back, you could always sew or a piece of felt or cork to the back. Being that it will always be done, flat on a surface, it will hardly ever be seen.
Weave in Remaining Ends, and Enjoy!
Please feel free to make and sell your own Cross Stitch Alien Coasters using this pattern, but please DO NOT claim this pattern as your own nor should you sell my pattern, and DO NOT re-publish my photos as your own. DO NOT copy and paste my pattern anywhere, link to it instead.

*If you would like a PDF version of this post, you may get one through my EyeLoveKnots Etsy Shop or EyeLoveKnots Craftsy Shop for a small fee. This fee is to compensate for the view/s lost once you no longer need to return to the blog for the information, as you will have your own copy. Plus! It helps fund supplies for new projects to share with you!
Shop EyeLoveKnots Etsy - Cross Stitch Alien Coasters
or EyeLoveKnots Craftsy - Cross Stitch Alien Coasters.

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Don't Crochet but Interested in Purchasing a Set of Alien Coasters?
     Visit the EyeLoveKnots Etsy Shop to see what I have available! Use the search box to type in what you have in mind, or feel free to send me a message with your custom request. I am happy to make in any custom size and/or color. View color options here: Crafter's Secret Cotton Yarn.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Chicken Bacon Alfredo Lasagna Rolls - Recipe Review - Inside BruCrew Life

*This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase by clicking on them, I made a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!
My email inbox has more than 6,000 social emails! Yikes! I have been slacking on pinning, and deleting emails. Last week I went through all of the Inside BruCrew Life emails I had received - more than 200 from back in 2015! I came across this Chicken Bacon Alfredo Lasagna Rolls among those 200, and decided to try them for dinner.

When I first looked at these, I did not consider that I'd actually have to roll the lasagna noodles, but it came to my attention that I would need to, and boy was that messy! But still a quick and easy dinner recipe, and a big hit with Todd - he even went back for seconds!

While this recipe uses bacon and alfredo, I'm thinking you could easily use a tomato sauce and mushrooms, or substitute the chicken for veggies like broccoli.

Yields: 12 Pieces to Serve 3 - 4

Time: 
     - 25 Minutes to Boil Water & Cook Pasta, plus Chop Chicken & Cook, Simultaneously; 
     - 15 Minutes to Make Mixture and Roll Up Lasagna; 
     - 17 Minutes to Bake

Ingredients:
     - 12 Lasagna Noodles of a 16-oz Box of Barilla's Wavy Lasagna Pasta
     - 1 15-oz Jar of Bertolli Alfredo Sauce
     - 0.5 cup of Milk
     - 1.5 Cups of Ricotta Cheese
     - 1.5 Cups of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
     - 2 Cups of Cooked Chopped Chicken
     - 1 14.5-oz can of Muir Glen Organic Diced Tomatoes, Drained Well
     - 0.5 Cup of Hormel's Real Crumbled Bacon (of a 4.3-oz bag)
     - 0.5 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
     - Chicken Bacon Alfredo Lasagna Rolls, Free Recipe from Inside BruCrew Life

You'll Also Need:
     - Aluminum Foil for Lining Casserole Dish
     - 9 x 13 Casserole Dish
     - Sauce Pan for Cooking Chicken In & Spoon to Mix
     - Medium Sized Mixing Bowl for Sauce Mixture & Spoon
     - Large Pot for Cooking Lasagna Noodles
     - Measuring Cup/s
     - Baking Sheet for Laying & Rolling Noodles On
     - Knife/Kitchen Scissors for Chopping Chicken

Ingredient Notes:
     Milk: I only use 2% milk at home. Came out great.
     Chicken: I had to google how many pounds two cups were equal to, and it came out to about one pound. I used skinless boneless chicken breasts, and bought 1.73. I cooked it all, but separated it in half and used the rest of the chicken in tacos for lunch the next day. The half I used was the perfect amount - I wouldn't suggest too much more.
     Bacon: I cheated, and bought some of the crumbled bacon you find in the salad dressing aisle - worked great, and was a fast mix in.

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Recipe Notes:
This was my first time cooking chicken like this. I used out kitchen scissors to cut up the raw into cubes, cutting away the fat, then dumped into the pan, and cooked just like browning hamburger meat. The only difference, chicken does not brown, it is just tan. For anyone new to cooking chicken this way too, just make sure there isn't any pink yet.

I did not drain my tomatoes good enough, so my mixture was a little runny. Definitely make sure to drain well.

After I cooked my noodles, I drained the water, and then put in some cold water to cool so I could handle the noodles. They were a little slimy - eck - but I muscled through it. I laid them down three at a time onto the baking sheet, spooned my mixture onto each one, and then carefully rolled pushing the guts back into the noodles when necessary. This process took a little time, and was very messy, but and easy step.
I divided the baking time in half, baking for 17 minutes.
For the complete recipe, visit Inside BruCrew Life's Chicken Bacon Alfredo Lasagna Rolls.

If you love to bake/cook (and/or craft) too, I would love to see your photos and get your recommendations! Join the EyeLoveKnots Crafting Community to share your creations, and see what other's are up to!

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Ghost Appliques - Crochet Pattern Review - Red Heart

When I first decided on my yarn projects for October, I picked the Ghost Coasters found on the Red Heart site, designed by Kara Gunza of Petals to Picots. I have loved this fun design since it first was published, and only took me a couple years to get around to it. Since working them up, I think they make better appliques than coasters. Read on to find out more.

Before I go on, I worked the cat and "boo" up in plastic canvas and some Red Heart Super Saver that was in my stash. It's a magnet that has a home on my fridge for Halloween - the only Halloween decoration you'll find up this year. I worked this up several years ago, and don't remember what pattern I used for it, but I thought it would be a great addition to my ghosts for the picture.

Materials I Used:
     - Small Amount of Artiste #10 Crochet Thread in White
     - About 25 Yards of Crafter's Secret Cotton Yarn in White
     - H8/5mm Crochet Hook (for worsted weight)
     - B/2mm Crochet Hook (for thread)
     - Tapestry Needle for Weaving in Ends
     - Ghost Coasters, Free Crochet Pattern from Red Heart

Material Notes:
     Original design is worked in Red Heart's Super Saver Yarn.

Time Spent:
     I finished my ghosts in about just under half an hour each.

Measurements - Taken Across Arms and from Top of Head to Bottom of Tail:
     Thread: 2.75" Wide by 4.13" Tall 
     Worsted Weight Cotton: 5.5" Wide by 8.25" Tall

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Pattern Notes:
     This pattern was very easy to follow, and the design was quick to work up. The only thing I found was in the border. If you look at my two ghosts, you will notice they mirror each other. For the worsted weight version, I did turn before starting the border, and for the thread version, I did not turn as instructed. By not turning, it created a small gap at my bottom point. I think it finishes up better if turned. If you are making a set, just work them all the same so they finish the same direction.

When adding the chains for the arms, I recommend working the stitches into the back bumps of the chain, rather than just into the chain. This will give the arms a clean, straight edge, and clearer stitches to work the border into, which will prevent any gaps here, as opposed to just working on the opposite site of the foundation chain.

I also recommend when working the border at the points where the body and arms meet, as well as, where the arms and neck meet, to pay more attention to where you place your stitches. If too many are placed here, these areas will bunch.

I skipped the eye embroidery, but if the embroidery intimidates you, you could also cut out and stitch on or glue some felt pieces, use fabric paint to draw the face on, or even attach some small pom poms for the eyes.

Because the ghost does not lay flat at the arms and head, I feel like it would be better used as an applique where all the points will be tacked down. Using different weight yarns produces different sized ghosts, which could be used for a large variety of projects. 

I think the thread weight ghost would be great to embellish with like on a card, hat, afghan square, or shirt pocket, and the worsted weight version would be great to embellish with like on a pillow, afghan, rug, or used to create an art piece. You could also block either size, and string several up to make a garland. If you are feeling up for a challenge, you could use sewing thread and block, and turn the ghosts into a pair of earrings, or use as a necklace pendant.

Overall, I think this is a great pattern - easy to read, and quick to work up, and can be used in some many ways. I will be saving my ideas for next year, but if you would like to see anything specifically, feel free to drop me a line.
Join the EyeLoveKnots Crafting Community to share your creations, and see what other's are up to! 

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Don't Crochet but Interested in Purchasing a Ghost Applique?
     Visit the EyeLoveKnots Etsy Shop to see what I have available! Use the search box to type in what you have in mind, or feel free to send me a message with your custom request. I am happy to make in any custom size and/or color.

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Candy Corn Inspired Ripple Soap Cozy, Candy Pouch or Small Gift Bag - Free Crochet Pattern

At the end of March, I shared the Granny Square Soap Cozy (or Small Gift Bag) for the April Granny-Spiration Challenge. It took me almost a year from working it up to publishing it. This ripple soap cozy was also created back in June of 2016, along with four other soap cozy patterns yet to be shared. Yikes! My original ripple design was made in yellow and pink, and reminds me of pink lemonade, but I wanted a design I could share for Halloween that would also make a great candy bag! 

You still have plenty of time to work up a bunch of these, stuff with candy and/or favors and stock up for the sweet little trick or treaters, or to hand out at a Halloween party.

Alternatively, it makes a great soap cozy as well. You could even make a Halloween themed soap to include in it as a gift!

An actual candy corn is yellow on the bottom, orange in the middle and white on the top. I wanted my bottom and top to be white, so I reversed my colors. Reverse them back for a true candy corn pattern.


Materials:
     - About 50 Yards of Worsted Weight Cotton - I used Lily Sugar n Cream in White, Yellow and Hot Orange 
     - H8/5mm Crochet Hook
     - #18 Tapestry Needle for Weaving in Ends

Material Notes:
     Yarn Alternatives: Bernat's Handicrafter, Lion Brand's Kitchen Cotton, Peaches n Cream, Crafter's Secret

Time Spent:
     I had my cozy ready in about 45 minutes.

Measurements:
     4.5" Wide by 5.75" Tall; 16" Long Tie

Gauge:
     16 HDC by 10 Rows = 4" 

Abbreviations:
     SC - Single Crochet
     HDC - Half Double Crochet
     DC - Double Crochet
     TC - Triple Crochet
     dc3tog - Double Crochet Three Stitches Together (Decrease)
        To dc3tog: Yarn over, insert hook into the first stitch of the decrease, yarn over and pull through (3 loops), yarn over and pull through 2 loops, yarn over, insert hook into the next stitch, yarn over and pull through (4 loops), yarn over and pull through 2 loops, yarn over, insert hook into the next stitch, yarn over and pull through (5 loops), yarn over and pull through 2 loops, yarn over and pull through all 4 loops on hook.

Pattern Notes:
     Beginning chain does not count as a stitch, except in Rounds 3 through 7, where it counts as a double crochet.

Join to the beginning chain for all rounds, except the first two and last two, in which you'll join to the first stitch of the round.

Round 9 works into the previous rounds double crochets and chain 1 space. I recommend working into the actual chain, not just into the space to keep a consistent and clean appearance.

The way I worked my color change for a seamless change while carrying up the yarn: I worked all the way around up to the last stitch before the join. I worked a yarn over, inserted my hook into the stitch, pulled the other colors over my hook so I could work over it, and then completed the first half of my double, I pulled the tails of the other colors over my hook again to work over, yarned over with my current color, and completed the second half of my double crochet. I pulled my other colors over my hook once more to work over, and joined as normal, and chained 1. To complete the color change, pull new color through, and pull previous color tight. Drop and repeat for color change. I do have a photo tutorial you can see of this - How to Carry Up Yarn in the Round
Alternatively, you can fasten off at the end of each round, work an invisible join for a seamless color change, and join your new color into the first stitch, but this will create many ends to weave in. OR, you could work all of the cozy in a solid color and not have to worry about color changes. Just join to the first stitch at the end of the round, and begin again.
In this image, you'll see my seam from the inside on the left, and from the outside on the right.

I am referring to my colors as I have used them for the Candy Corn inspired cozy, but basically you just need three colors for the pattern I used. You could use as many as you like, or just one. Completely up to you! 

Pattern:
     In White, Chain 16. 2 HDC into the 3rd chain, and the next 12, 3 HDC into the last chain, HDC into the next 12 along the opposite side of the foundation chain, HDC into the 1st stitch. Join. (30 HDC)

R2: Chain 3. TC into the 1st SC, DC into the next 2 SCs, HDC into the next SC, SC into the next 3 SCs, HDC into the next SC, DC into the next 2 SCs, (TC into the next SC, DC into the next 2 SCs, HDC into the next SC, SC into the next 3 SCs, HDC into the next SC, DC into the next 2 SCs) 2x. Join with Orange. (30 stitches)

R3: In Orange, Chain 2. DC into the 1st 4 stitches, dc3tog, DC into the next 3 stitches, (3 DC into the next stitch, DC into the next 3 stitches, dc3tog, DC into the next 3 stitches) 2x. DC into the 1st stitch. Join with Yellow. (30 DCs)

R4: In Yellow, Chain 2. DC into the 1st 4 stitches, dc3tog, DC into the next 3 stitches, (3 DC into the next stitch, DC into the next 3 stitches, dc3tog, DC into the next 3 stitches) 2x. DC into the 1st stitch. Join with White. (30 DCs)

R5: In WhiteChain 2. DC into the 1st 4 stitches, dc3tog, DC into the next 3 stitches, (3 DC into the next stitch, DC into the next 3 stitches, dc3tog, DC into the next 3 stitches) 2x. DC into the 1st stitch. Join with Orange. (30 DCs)

R6: In Orange, Chain 2. DC into the 1st 4 stitches, dc3tog, DC into the next 3 stitches, (3 DC into the next stitch, DC into the next 3 stitches, dc3tog, DC into the next 3 stitches) 2x. DC into the 1st stitch. Join with Yellow. (30 DCs)

R7: In Yellow, Chain 2. DC into the 1st 4 stitches, dc3tog, DC into the next 3 stitches, (3 DC into the next stitch, DC into the next 3 stitches, dc3tog, DC into the next 3 stitches) 2x. DC into the 1st stitch. Join with White. (30 DCs)

R8: In White, Chain 1. SC into the 1st 2 stitches, HDC into the next stitch, DC into the next 2 stitches, TC into the next stitch, DC into the next 2 stitches, HDC into the next stitch, (SC into the next 3 stitches, HDC into the next stitch, DC into the next 2 stitches, TC into the next stitch, DC into the next 2 stitches, HDC into the next stitch) 2x, SC into the last stitch. Join. (30 stitches)

R9: Chain 4 (counts as a DC plus chain 1). Skip the next stitch, (DC into the next stitch, chain 1, skip the next stitch) 14x. Join to the beginning chain 3.

R10: Chain 1. SC into the 1st stitch, and into each chain 1 space and DC around. Join. (30 SC)

R11: Chain 1. SC into the 1st SC, and into each SC around. Join. (30 SC)

Fasten Off, and Weave in End/s.

Tie: 
     With Orange. Chain 2, 4 SC into the 1st chain. Join to the 1st SC. Chain 62, 4 SCs into the 2nd to last chain. Join to the 1st SC.

Fasten Off, and Weave in Remaining Ends.

Finishing:
     Weave the tie in and out of Round 11. No crochet hook needed to weave in this tie. Both of my ties came out of the center hole to keep it all even.
Please feel free to make and sell your own Ripple Soap Cozies using this pattern, but please DO NOT claim this pattern as your own nor should you sell my pattern, and DO NOT re-publish my photos as your own. DO NOT copy and paste my pattern anywhere, link to it instead.

*If you would like a PDF version of this post, you may get one through my EyeLoveKnots Etsy Shop or EyeLoveKnots Craftsy Shop for a small fee. This fee is to compensate for the view/s lost once you no longer need to return to the blog for the information, as you will have your own copy. Plus! It helps fund supplies for new projects to share with you!
Shop EyeLoveKnots Etsy - Ripple Soap Cozy, Candy Pouch or Small Gift Bag
or EyeLoveKnots Craftsy - Ripple Soap Cozy, Candy Pouch or Small Gift Bag.

Join the EyeLoveKnots Crafting Community to share your creations, and see what other's are up to! 

Share your version of this project on Ravelry - Ripple Soap Cozy, Candy Pouch or Small Gift Bag. Check out the EyeLoveKnots Ravelry page to keep track of all your EyeLoveKnots favorites in your que, and share your WIPS and finished projects!

Don't miss out on new crochet patterns, reviews, jewelry tutorials and more! Subscribe to EyeLoveKnots by using the box on the right side toolbar, or follow me via Bloglovin! You can also find me sharing on the EyeLoveKnots Facebook page, and @EyeLoveKnots on Twitter!


Don't Crochet but Interested in Purchasing a Ripple Soap Cozy?
     Visit the EyeLoveKnots Etsy Shop to see what I have available! Use the search box to type in what you have in mind, or feel free to send me a message with your custom request. I am happy to make in any custom size and/or color. View color options here: Lily Sugar n Cream.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Slow-Cooker Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Pasta - Recipe Review - Betty Crocker

*This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase by clicking on them, I made a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!
I got an email from Betty Crocker with some yummy chicken recipes inside, and I found this Slow-Cooker Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Pasta while I was browsing through. I decided it would make a great dinner to treat Todd to. I started cooking a little before he got home, so by the time he did, the house smelled delicious!
I served our pasta with a caesar salad and some garlic bread.

Cooking it reminded me a little of making a Hamburger Helper dish, though it did not get the same thickness as I thought it would. It was just as easy to put together though, and other than the 3.5 hours of cooking time, took no time to throw together.

Serves: 6 - 8

Time: About 4 hours - 3.5 of Them Cooking in the Crock Pot

Ingredients:
     - 1 19-oz can of Old El Paso Mild Enchilada Sauce
     - 1 0.85-oz package of Old El Paso Chicken Taco Seasoning Mix
     - 20 oz Package of Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
     - 3 Cloves of Finely Chopped Garlic - I cheated and use the one in the jar!
     - 1 14.5-oz can of Muir Glen Organic Diced Tomatoes
     - 1 10-oz can of Old El Paso Chopped Green Chiles
     - 1 package of Cream Cheese, Cubed and Softened
     - 2 Cups of Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
     - 2 Cups (half of a 16 oz Box) of Cooked Rotini Noodle from Barilla
     - Optional, Sour Cream for Topping
     - Slow-Cooker Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Pasta, Free Recipe from Betty Crocker

You'll Also Need:
     - A 5-Quart Crock Pot - I have a 5-Quart Hamilton Beach in Black and love it
     - Spoon for Stirring 
     - Can Opener
     - 2 Forks for Shredding Chicken
     - Pot for Cooking Pasta In
     - Teaspoon for Diced Garlic

Ingredient Notes:
     Enchilada Sauce: There are different levels of hotness, so make sure you get the one that's good for you. I stuck with the mild.
     Chicken: I used the chicken thighs are suggested in the pattern so I could try it closer to how it was first crafted, but I will say that thighs are kind of greasy - I'd use chicken breasts next time.
     Tomatoes: Recipe calls for fire roasted diced tomatoes, but because I don't like hot things, I stuck with some simple, regular diced tomatoes.
     Green Chiles: I haven't never used these before. These also come in different levels of hotness - I used the mild ones. Even so, they smelled on the hotter side when I dumped them into the crock pot, so I pulled about half of it back out. I would omit these next time.
     Pasta: Original recipe calls for Cavatappi pasta. I went with the Rotini that I had on hand. Any type will work! 

Recipe also calls for onions, but since Todd does not like onions, I did not use them in this recipe.

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Recipe Notes:
     I cooked my chicken for 3.5 hours on low, only peeking once! It smelled very good! And I did the remaining two cooking rounds at 10 minutes each.
This was my first time shredding the chicken. I won't say that it was hard, but it was a little challenging for me. Todd was making fun of me for taking so long, but I was taking it slow, and made sure to skim the fat from the chicken.
I will admit that I was bad with the cream cheese, and did not soften my cream cheese. I thought it would all kind of just melt away in the pot, but it didn't. I realized while eating that some did not get mixed it with the rest. Next time, I will have to remember to set my cream cheese out.

Original recipe states that it serves 8. Todd and I ate this pasta dish for dinner two nights, and I had two servings for the following days lunches, making only 6 serving. All depends on how much you serve. 

For the recipe, visit Betty Crocker's Slow-Cooker Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Pasta.
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