Friday, 8 June 2012

And now, for something a little different from me...

I should have done this step-by-step with pictures, but I wanted to share a recipe with you. I'm calling it poor-man's sausage casserole, because there are only 5 ingredients and it's super-easy! AND you can do it all in one pot!

A stone casserole dish with a lid - pyrex dishes are also good.
A wooden spoon or your preferred stirring implement.

4 sausages. Good meaty ones are best. I'm using low-fat ones as they're what I had ready.
A tin of chopped tomatoes - 400g
A tin of baked beans
A couple of handfuls of mixed veg (if you like, you can used fresh veg and add whatever you like. Mine is a frozen mix of broccoli, carrot, cauliflower and peas)
A large onion, diced (again, I'm cheap so I use ready chopped, frozen onions)

  1. Pre-heat the oven to about 180-200 degrees C
  2. Put the sausages into your dish. You can spray it with a little oil if you prefer, but I (try to) use stoneware that's pre-seasoned, so I don't need to. Brown them off in the oven.
  3. When the sausages are done, take them out of the oven and chop them into pieces, you can generally get 4/5 equal sized pieces out of each sausage. Put the sausage pieces into the lid of your casserole dish (just to save that extra bit of washing up as you'll need the empty pot for this next bit)
  4. Put all the other ingredients into the pot. Beans and tomatoes first, stir them together, then add your onions and other veg.
  5. Add a little water to make the sauce less thick, then add the sausage pieces and stir them in.
  6. Put the lid on the pot and cook in the oven for about 45 minutes.

(I will add a picture of the finished result later on!)

EDIT: Here it is! I think I'd also add a little seasoning in there. Some herbs and spices, etc. But it was still pretty good!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Pinterest Love!

Have you discovered Pinterest yet? If not, where have you been?! It's been one of my best sources of inspiration since I opened my account late last year. Seriously, I have found some awesome tutorials and learned so much about crafts that I thought I was experienced in - turns out no matter how much you think you know, you can always learn something new!

So, for a while (read: a LOOOOONNNG time, maybe even more than a year...) I've been working on a t-shirt knitting pattern for my daughter. The pattern was in a UK based magazine and I had a LOT of problems with it. I won't name and shame the company, but I ended up blagging my way through the pattern as it was so badly written for the size I was making. Today, I finally finished knitting the main body of it and ended up with something a little like this:

I wasn't entirely happy with it - not that I expected to be with the amount of trouble I had with it - but I thought it just needed a little something to add to it. So, I began my quest. I knew that I wanted to add a crocheted edge to the sleeves and the bottom, but I couldn't find what I was looking for. Eventually, I stumbled upon THIS BLOG and decided this was just what it needed. It's simple to do and yet so pretty, it really finished off the sleeves nicely. I HAD to share this little gem of information, so I "pinned" it to my crochet-devoted board on Pinterest and within an hour, over 40 other pinners had repinned it, too!

So, here's what I did with this lovely tutorial:

So far, I have done this on both sleeves and am still doing the bottom part (there's almost 300 stitches in that round and I apparently cast off fairly tight...) but I'm really pleased with it and I'm also so pleased that I had the chance to share this information with so many other crafters!

You don't have a Pinterest account? Don't worry! Just drop me an email on thecraftyninjauk[at]gmail[dot]com with your preferred email account to use for registration and I'll invite you as soon as I can! I will warn you though, it's VERY addictive. Hope to see some of you there really soon!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

April fool...?

I know I haven't posted in ages, I really do apologise for that. I just sometimes don't have the motivation to even craft, let alone blog about it!

But, something BIG is happening for The Crafty Ninja!

I have written my very first crochet pattern - only a simple baby hat - but it's all my own pattern. AND... this is the big news... It's going to be published in an online magazine! Excited, much?!

Released on 1st April (really, NOT an April Fool!), issue 3 of crafter...oo magazine has a fabulous source of information for all crafters alike! It's only £1.50 per issue and you can purchase past issues by signing up to the forum (registration is free!) and clicking this link and following the instructions.

How fabulous does this cover look?!

Do you think YOU have what it takes to be in the next issue of crafter...oo magazine? Positions are now open for submitting content for issue 4, scheduled for release in July. Just pop on over to the crafter...oo forum and sign up to express your interest!

And please make sure to purchase issue 3 on April 1st to find my baby hat pattern and lots of other fantastic, crafty talent and inspiration!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Crafter..oo magazine - Mystery Package Challenge!

Well, it has been a while, hasn't it?! Honestly, I have had the roughest year you could imagine - I won't go into details as it will not do anyone any favours and well, my personal life is just that - I do not cross it with my craft life.

Anyway, this blog post is about the Crafter..oo Crafts forum who have put together an online craft magazine which has been put together by members of the forum and I am going to be involved in the second issue of it which is due to be released in Jan 1st 2012. If you'd like to take a sneak peek at issue #1, you can do so HERE (I think you may have to sign up for the forum to be able to buy it, but it's free to sign up) and if you go on to purchase it, it's a fabulous bargain price of just £1.50!

So, what's my contribution? Good question - I need your help! I am taking part in a Mystery Package Challenge - how exciting and intriguing does that sound?! But quite frankly, I'm a little bit intimidated by the contents of this package! There are several different materials - pretty much none of which I am experienced in using - EEK!

Ok, these pictures are what's in the package. I'll explain a bit more about the challenge afterwards.

This is the entire contents of the package.

Firstly, there's a page of a book. It's printed on both sides and has some German text on one side (as shown) and what looks like an appendix or contents page in English on the other side.

Then we have this beautiful selection of beads, buttons and charms! They're SO pretty to look at!

And finally, there are three different types of ribbon - a thin strip of pale blue satin-y ribbon, some white-ish organza-type ribbon which is a little wider and some white lace edging-type stuff. Oh, and that piece of grey/brown fabric is also part of the package!

I apologise for my lack of technical terminology in the descriptions - but as I previously mentioned, this is NOT the kind of stuff I am used to working with! And this is why I need your help. The rules/guidelines we have to follow for this project are:
  • You may blog WIP pieces as a tease, as long as they do not give away too much about the final piece
  • You agree not to post pictures anywhere on the web of the final piece until after issue 2 hits the shelves (or web, I suppose!)
  • You may use supplies from your own stash, but please let the supplies in the "Mystery Package" be the main focus of what you make
  • You do not need to use all the pieces that are in the "Mystery Package", but please try and use as many as you can.
  • You can make more than one thing

Anyone who knows me or my work, knows that I primarily focus on yarn arts (knitting and crochet) and paper and card crafting, so this is completely new to me! Ideally, I'd like to try to work the items in this package into something covering those areas. I don't want to have to go out and purchase lots of expensive extras to be able to make this work - it's far too close to Christmas(!) to be thinking about spending my money on anything else so I want to use things I already own as much as possible too.

I have maybe a couple of basic ideas, but am not really sure how to make them work. If anyone has any ideas that may help me, please do comment. I will gladly consider anything you can suggest - although I won't be able to let you know whether I use your suggestion or not! And I don't want to steal whole ideas either, so please bear this in mind when commenting!

Thanks so much to every one of you who reads this. You're so supportive to me all of the time and I appreciate it more than you know! <3

Saturday, 6 August 2011

And the winner is!

As chosen by my daughter, the process of which is shown in pictures as follows ;)

First I wrote all the entries on a piece of paper:

These were cut out and folded with the help of my daughter and put into a "pot" (aka a roll of sellotape on my bed!):

She put her hand into the "pot" and chose one name at random:

And the winner is..........
Anice! Who would like a bear the same as the one in the picture! Congratulations Anice, please email me at or contact me via my Facebook Page before Wednesday 10th August at midnight GMT!

If you weren't successful this time, don't worry! If you love these little bears, they are available to custom order (please give at least 4 weeks notice!) at just £5 each plus postage. You can contact me on the email address above or again, via my facebook page - link also above.

Thanks so much to everyone who entered and for all your continuing support!

Monday, 25 July 2011

A giveaway!

Did you all hear the news? Thanks to Send In The Troops on Facebook, my Facebook Page hit over 1000 fans! Can I get a "HELL YEAH!!" :D So, naturally, I'm going to celebrate this awesome feat and one of you lucky, lucky people gets to have your own custom crocheted bear! These little bears normally retail for £5 each, but you could have one entirely free!

Awww, isn't he cute? The variables are the colour of his (or her!) body - the main bear colour and the colour of his shirt. You can have the shirt sleeveless, short sleeved or long sleeved and the length of the shirt can be altered to be the length of a dress, if you so wish!

All you have to do, is comment on this blog post and let me know what colour(s) YOU would choose if you won your own custom bear! Bonus entries available for sharing this post on Twitter, Facebook and Google+, but please post each entry as a separate comment and link to the post that you shared it in!

NB: If you are entering from outside the mainland UK, I would ask that if you are successful, would you please cover the cost of postage? Customs charges can be a pain!

PS: One other thing! I forgot to put a closing date on this post before, so I shall leave it open until.... 5th August at midnight GMT. So still plenty of time for you all!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Testing, testing!

So, apparently, I can update my blog via email, which will be brilliant, especially as my smartphone (currently in for repair) is linked to google too....! Here goes, give me a shout!

Oh and I have also optimised this page for mobile use, so if you are on a phone, let me know how it looks!
The Crafty Ninja - Handmade cards and other crafts Facebook page!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Almost a year later....

Yes, I have decided to write a blog post again.

I haven't really got a good enough excuse for not posting, other than laziness, but I hope I can be forgiven.

I don't have time to catch up with all the projects I have done over the last year or so, but as a little background, I have had a VERY trying last few months. A big change happened in my life last November and it's thrown me out of sorts a little bit - actually - a lot. I won't go into detail here, I know some of you who may be reading this know the story, but I don't want to rehash personal issues on what is mainly a craft blog.

So, I have been crafting a lot more recently. I'm finding therapy in it, it takes my mind off of more poignant issues and have a lot more time for it too. I have taught myself to crochet quite effectively now and have been focussed on crocheting small items, whereas this time last year, I was knitting more.

Today, I have been blog-hopping to find small crochet items which can be used as embellishments for my cards. The one card I managed to complete today features a crocheted butterfly, with gems stuck on to decorate the wings. I wasn't sure about it at first, but I have had some positive response on my Facebook page so I'm feeling more positive about it. Please feel free to leave any comments.


So that's my post for today. I really hope I can blog more often and once again, I apologise that it's been so long!