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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How to Plant a Marigold Border

How do you plant a marigold border?  Here’s how I did it! 

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I am deep into gardening mode! I spent the weekend working in the beds, weeding and adding compost and leftover ashes from the fireplace (they are wonderful for your soil).Marigold Border

I even had time to plant the cold weather seeds, radishes, lettuce, swiss chard, mache, spinach and peas.

I took a risk and planted my marigold border as well, I am so impatient! Hopefully we won’t get anymore snow!

Marigold Seeds

How do you plant a marigold border? First, I purchase several large boxes of bulk seed.  I found these at the local home improvement store on sale. I love the mix of colors and textures of these flowers.

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We have raised garden beds, but you could just as easily plant a border in a flat area. I plant the outside with the flowers, and put the rows of veggies inside the border.

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The seed boxes are designed for easy planting. Simply, open the side to expose the hole where the seeds come out. There is a bit of loose material in with the seeds to keep them from sticking to each other, it also makes it easy to just sprinkle the seeds over your planting area.

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Can you see the white powder material? That’s the seed mixture. In our 10′ by 10′ garden beds, I sprinkle an area approximately 12″ wide around the edge of each bed.  The seeds can then be tapped into the soil with a rake or gently cover them with 1/8″ of soil. Our garden was very dry, it was easy to sprinkle some dust on top of the seeds. Shortly after I finished planting, the rains came.  Beautiful flowers are not far away!

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That’s it! Seriously, it’s that simple. Just sprinkle them on the dirt and your done!

This is our garden last August. You can see what a beautiful pop of color the marigolds are! They are very economical to plant in bulk, I spent a total of $10.00 on seed that covered the edges of more than 5 large beds. To purchase flats of marigolds to cover this same area, it would have cost well over $100.00, and not been as thickly planted.  The time savings is huge as well. I spent 15 minutes spreading seed, it would take hours to plant each one of these flowers by hand!

I love marigolds for lots of reasons.

Rabbits don’t like them, and we have seldom had rabbit issues. I like to plant other “stinky” plants inside the border such as onions, shallots and garlic. Then I use the middle section for the plants that the rabbits love to eat, such as strawberries, beans, and lettuces. It’s not fool proof, but it does seem to discourage the bunnies from getting to all that good stuff in the middle.

The marigold blossoms are edible if you grow them organically (I don’t use any chemical fertilizers on our garden), but do not eat them if you purchase commercially produced flowers (they have too many chemicals on them to be edible).

Best of all, marigolds are hardy even in our zone 4-5 garden. One planting in spring will yield beautiful flowers by mid to late June and until frost. A little care is needed, I occasionally pluck the dead blossoms off or snip the tops of the plants off with a scissors for continual bloom.

Happy Gardening!

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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!