Arm Knitted Scarf

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I admit defeat. I have given up on my 31 Days of Sewing Series from the month of October. If you want to read what I did accomplish during this series, click here. I will post more updates in the future.

I was eager to finish another sewing project, but my sewing machine has broken and needs repairs.

The last time I took it in for repair, it was a 3 month wait. Yup.

Apparently, fixing sewing machines is a lost art. At least around here it is.

Ridiculous.

So, I admit that I have once again started something that I am not able to finish. Big surprise, right? I bet you have NEVER DONE THAT.

My husband loves to remind me that I struggle in this area.

In my defeat, I sat down in front of the TV to watch the Hallmark channel’s Christmas movie marathon and I conquered the Arm Knit Scarf that you see here.

It’s super easy and only takes two balls of yarn.

It is completely knit on your arms, no needles or hooks involved.

If I can do it, so can you.

It takes less than 30 minutes, even if you have never knitted in your life.

I love how it turned out.

Makes up for my lack of success in other areas.

 

 

 

I found this great video with step by step instructions. This gal has very clear pictures and it is easy to follow. I love that she calls it “Arm Knitting for the Clueless“. I definitely fit into that category!

Give it a try, you’ll love it!

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I had so much fun making the first scarf, that I had to make a second one. I envision this scarf with my favorite blue jeans and a comfortable sweater. Cozy!

It would also make a great gift. Christmas is just around the corner!

Yikes!

Speaking of Christmas, I have to sit down and do some planning. I normally have planned out my holiday decor, food and such by this time of year but this year, I am struggling for direction.

I don’t like struggling. I don’t function well without a plan. Direction normally comes rather easily to me.

Not having it makes me stressed out, and it shouldn’t. Life is complicated enough without having to worry about the simple things.

Tomorrow is another day!

How do you find your direction and inspiration?

DIY Dog Bed

This DIY Dog Bed is extra large and fluffy for the super sized pooch.

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DIY Dog Bed

31 Days of Sewing
I recently made a dog bed for a local animal shelter.

I did a similar project last year for the Animal Thrift Benefit and it was such fun I decided to do it again.

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I used 1/2 yard of ivory fleece and  an indoor/outdoor chevron print to make the bed. Both are machine washable, durable fabrics.  Make sure to pre-wash and dry your fabrics before you start sewing.

Directions:

1. Remove selvages, block and straighten fabrics matching corners and raw edges.

2. Sew right sides together using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Turn corners by taking one stitch on the diagonal before making the turn. Leave a 12″ opening on the lower edge for stuffing.

3. Turn right side out, use a pin to pull out and straighten corners.

4. Stuff with poly fiberfill stuffing. I used 5 old pillows for this project.

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(The stuffing for the bed was a bunch of old pillows that I cut the covers off from. If your family is like ours, then you have a constant supply of old flat pillows. Rather than throw them away, I use the compacted fiberfill,  pulled and cut it apart, re-fluffed and stuffed it into the new dog bed.)

5. Topstitch the opening closed, 1/8″ away from pillow edge.

DIY Dog Bed

I had to borrow a pooch for the day to try the bed out. At this time, we do not own a pet. This is sad for us.

I have always wanted a dog, maybe someday we will have one.

My friend Sarah has the most beautiful dogs. Since we don’t own a pet, I have to covet other people’s animals.

This pooch is Maggie. She’s the only dog I know with a professional portfolio. She’s even been in TV commercials.

Isn’t she beautiful?

Her coat is just as silky smooth in person as it is in these photos.

She’s my dream dog.

DIY Dog Bed

Maggie thought the doggie bed was A-OKAY.

That is, once she could relax enough to lay down on it.

It took a bit of coaxing.

Somehow a stranger pointing a camera in her face had her all excited.

I can’t imagine why.

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Maggie’s counterpart, Kiera felt differently. She couldn’t understand why Maggie was so bent out of shape.

Both dogs thought that the lady laying on the floor staring at them with the camera was a bit quacky.

Perhaps she is.

The dog bed was donated to our local animal shelter, Angel’s Wish.

They do great work in our community. So many animals to feed and house, especially with the upcoming winter.

In our area temperatures frequently drop to -40 degrees. Even if you have a furry coat, that’s pretty darn cold to be out on the street.

The shelter gives the animals food, medical care and a foster home until they are adopted.

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Today, I am participating in the Animal Thrift Benefit.

You can help the animals by shopping through this Amazon link to benefit the animal shelter.

All help is appreciated!

Come back Oct.14th for the DIY Project Linky Party, you won’t want to miss it!

Thank you for your participation!

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Dirt Cake in a Jar

My son decided he wanted Dirt Cake for his birthday celebration. Here’s my recipe for my latest kitchen adventure: Dirt Cake in a Jar!

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My son decided that Dirt was on the menu for his birthday. Today, we had a blast making these yummy concoctions!

I went a little crazy with mason jars last fall. I still am crazy about them. Everything seems to look better in a jar. Food tastes better in a jar, too.Dirt Cake in a Jar

Even birthday cake.

Even Dirt Cake.

Who doesn’t love Dirt?

Dirt Cake in a Jar

 

I love serving food in mason jars. I hope this trend is around to stay! It’s easy to dish out the right size portions. There is always one joker in the crowd who thinks HE should get the biggest helping.

Not any more! The jars look great on a tray, and you can even dress it up by using the decorative cut glass jelly jars instead of the plain ones.  I like to chill or freeze the jars for a cool treat on a warm day. I add chocolate protein mix to the pudding to make this dish a bit healthier!

This cake is super easy:

Dirt Cake in a Jar

Dirt Cake in a Jar

Ingredients

  • 2 Large Packages instant chocolate pudding
  • 2-4 scoops chocolate protein powder
  • 6 cups 2% milk
  • 1 16 oz. tub of non-dairy whip topping
  • 1 carton of chocolate sandwich cookies, some crushed
  • Gummy worms for decoration
  • 6 half pint mason jars

Instructions

  1. Combine the milk and pudding in a large bowl. Whisk together, adding protein powder. Chill for 5 minutes until partially set. Meanwhile, crush the cookies in a plastic baggie with a rolling pin, learning some cookies whole for garnish. When pudding begins to set, spoon into jars. Make one layer of pudding, whip topping, and crushed cookies, then repeat. Finish with the rest of the cookies crumbs, a gummy worm and a split cookies for the top.
  2. You can chill the jars in the refrigerator (soft set) or freezer (firm set) until needed. It's easy to move them around by setting them in a muffin tin.

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In Love with Orchids

 

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Coming back from vacation has it’s perks. The snow is now gone, and I actually saw a robin in the yard today. It seems like overnight, winter has finally given up and warmer days are ahead.

Returning from vacation has it’s down side also, I can no longer avoid all the things I have been worrying about, and I am still suffering from the time zone differential, a.k.a., I need a nap. A long nap.

For today, I will share our vacation visit to this fantastic orchid greenhouse. I have never seen anything quite like this, an entire greenhouse full of just orchids.

It was absolutely amazing. I could have wandered around in there for days.

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The woman who ran the place, had the most interesting way of organizing her orchids, rows and rows of vertical hanging baskets. Each one was connected to the one above by a simple metal hook. It gave the impression of being an entire wall, but it really wasn’t a wall at all.

Orchids do not need soil, some varieties thrive purely on air and water, others require bark or moss to cover the roots. These hanging “vines” are photos of all the bare roots, just hanging down from their little wooden or plastic baskets. I would love a greenhouse full of these!

It felt like a jungle. 

It was a jungle.

 This particular variety of orchid only blooms every 6 years ( I can’t remember the name of them, sorry!).  These are only 4 years old, and won’t bloom for two more years. I can’t imagine having that much patience waiting for them to bloom would be so hard for me!  Wow, this woman had PATIENCE!

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I especially loved the orchids planted in the wooden baskets. They look so gnarly and rustic, what an inspiration! Don’t you just LOVE it?

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Another wall was covered with wire fencing, then with rows of tiny orchid baskets on hooks. This system was part of how she propagates her orchids, and these were not for sale. Each one was labeled with the latin name, and she knew all of them!

 I would love to learn how propagate orchids, although I guess I should learn to grow them first without killing them. Sigh.

First things, first.

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My son had the best time in this place, he found an orchid to take home with him as a souvenir. This variety, Phalainopsis, is quite common, you can buy them at Home Depot or your local greenhouse. They have the most dazzling blossoms.  Keep your orchid in indirect sun, and evenly moist. The bathroom is a great place for them, they love the humidity. You can put them in the tub with a bit of water if you have to go out of town, they will be happy until you return.

I must say, I really don’t know that much about orchids, I killed one once that I had been given as a gift. Fortunately, my son is very good with plants and I am hoping we can keep this one alive for a while. Forever, actually.

Next time we are on vacation, I am bringing home a dozen of them, at least!

Christmas Knitting for Gifts

I have been inspired this last week to make a few last minute Christmas gifts. It all started with our recent visit to Chicago. Everyone there looked so nice in their beautiful hand knit hats and scarves. They didn’t seem to mind being out in the cold because they were dressed for it.
I decided I am under-dressed for the weather. I also decided, that everyone else I know is under-dressed as well and it’s my duty to fix it.
Hence, the flurry of last minute knitting.
Then I discovered the most beautiful line of imported yarn from Germany.
I am obsessed with it!

I love how quickly it knits on these jumbo needles. I always wanted to learn knitwear design in college. But back then knitwear was just ugly.
You remember those giant T-shirts with the word “WHAM” on the front?
I rest my case. Knitwear today is so much more attractive.
I call this cowl blue smoke. It’s a gift for my sister in law, shhhhh don’t tell!

This teal number is for my mother, she loves teal. Hummm, I think I am going to need one of these too.
The other nanna is getting neutrals. I love Oatmeal-like color combos.
This infinity scarf took me forever to finish. I am keeping this one, but I decided to show it to you anyway. I wore it to the movies for the first time the other day.
 I love how you can wrap yourself up in it. It is so soft and warm. I can’t wait to make another one.
I call this cowl bubble gum. Aren’t the colors just amazing? You could wear this with a million different things.

This scarf is for Gramps. Salt and Pepper is a perfect color combo for him.
This last one is still in progress, but I decided to show it to you anyway. It has a bit of gold in the yarn, nothing like a little Sparkle for the holidays. 
As soon as the snow storm lets up I will head back to the yarn store again so I can finish it.
As of the first of the year, I will be adding these items to my Etsy store. They will be available for custom orders after the holidays, more details to come!
Have a relaxing day!
Only two more days til Christmas! Plenty of time to knit a few more last minute items!