Knitted Afghan

    I interrupt your nap time with a new project. This homemade Knit Afghan is a popular fixture at our house. Our cat Pixel has decided it’s the perfect spot to snooze the day away. It’s the perfect spot for me too. This blanket is so warm and cozy that I kept knitting and knitting, not just because it was fun, but because it was so nice to have on my lap. This blanket started out as a project for my son’s bed. However, I like it so much I want to keep it on the couch in the living room instead. I was inspired by a similar project in a vintage knitting book. I can’t imagine knitting a blanket big enough to cover an entire bed, but that was the general idea. I am not that ambitious. I do love how it turned out. The neutral color is great with any decor and this yarn was a dream to work with, so soft and easy to knit. The project, although large, went together quite fast, working with the larger yarn is very satisfying because you can really see the progress you are making.     The problem was, the kitty thought this blanket was pretty nice too. Have you ever tried to knit with a 10 lb. ball of fur on your lap? It’s easier said than done. Yarn makes for a very interesting plaything, especially when it is constantly moving about. I have the scratches on my thighs to prove it. This project is super easy, a…
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Confetti Soap

        I recently taught a soap making class. It was so much fun! A group of local home school Mom’s and a few of their kids got together for a time of fellowship and learning. I am not really sure who learned more, me or them. That’s the funny thing about being a speaker, you go in expecting to teach, but come out having been a student. Even if it’s something you have been doing for years, like making your own soap. I would do it again in a heart beat. We spent the entire night discussing soap bases, herbs and essential oils. We debated about different chemicals in the bases, what’s good, what’s not. We even googled a few technical terms for clarification. It was a blast. We experimented with new molds, tested new soap bases, mixed beautiful new colors and tried out new experimental techniques. The results were beautiful. They smelled even better than they looked. My favorite soap of the night was this Confetti Soap. It’s not at all complicated. The basic soap has a combination of 3 Butters, Mango, Shea and Cocoa butter. It’s the first time I have used this product, and I love the way it moisturizes my dry winter skin. The beautiful color comes from adding chopped up bits of Glycerin Soap that I made previously. We simply chopped the soaps into little pieces and added them to the white liquid soap base when it was poured into the mold. How easy is that? I had been working on this…
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Pink Wash Towel

    I have been knitting for weeks. It’s part of my winter routine, each night I spend an hour or two working on projects. You would be amazed at how much you can produce in such a small amount of time. I made a number of small gifts for the holidays. My favorite gift combination was hand knit wash towels and home made soap. If you would like to make your own soap, check out my tutorial here. Now it’s time to get back to my own knitting projects, I have been dying to make a couple of Wash Towels for myself.  I love their soft cotton texture, it feels like a gentle exfoliant on the skin. They look as luxurious and beautiful as they feel. The towels hold up amazingly well with regular use. They do stretch a bit as they are wet, but put them in the laundry and they shrink back to their original state in the dryer. Who knew yarn was so resiliant? The biggest plus of this project is it’s compact size, it’s easy to stick the needles and all in your purse and take them on the road with you. This is Peaches and Cream 100% cotton yarn in Rose Stripes. I love how the variegated yarn makes stripes appear as you knit. It’s like the yarn has a story to tell you that is revealed as you work. Who doesn’t love a good story? For this project, you will need 1 skein Peaches and Cream yarn and a pair of size 8…
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Felted Wool Dryer Balls

    I have seen these Felted Wool Dryer Balls on Pintrest a number of times. They seem to be tried and tested enough to know that they really do work in place of buying dryer sheets. I have a confession to make… I have never actually purchased dryer sheets. At least I don’t remember buying any, perhaps I did way back when. Before I realized how bad they are for you. Part of our quest to live an organic and chemical free lifestyle is to review each and every item that comes into our home. Is it really necessary? Is it full of chemicals? Why do we need it? Is there another alternative? You would be amazed how your perspective changes after a while. There are many things that most families purchase that are considered “essentials” , that we simple don’t buy. One of them is dryer sheets. The skin is the largest organ in the body, so they say. Why do we perfume and chemically dose our laundry that goes next to our skin? It doesn’t make sense to me. We absorb so much of what we come in contact with in our environment, we don’t even realize it. When our son was young and struggling with ADD, ADHD, allergies and learning disorders and a bunch of other things, I remember reading about how many environmental chemicals are absorbed by small children. Children are so much more sensitive to things than adults. If chemicals in our environment bother us, just think so much more it must bother them.…
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Yarn Ball Wreath

    I am normally not one to follow trends. I like to be unique in almost everything I do. Sometimes though, the cuteness factor sways my opinion. Like when it comes to making a Yarn Ball Wreath. HUGE cuteness factors are involved. I just had to steal this idea. It called to me. Many talented bloggers have had their own versions, and I must say I was tempted, but not completely swayed by them. Until I saw the one over at Cherished Bliss. She used twine in with the balls of yarn. It was the magic combination for me. I was hooked! I also loved her idea of starting with a ball of newspaper and then wrapping the twine around it. Brilliant! It uses less yarn that way. It’s also lighter, and easier to glue them down. I used baking twine, regular twine, colored twine and scraps of yarn from my knitting projects. I used newspapers until I ran out of them, then I started in on the Christmas catalogue pages. I have millions of those, could have made balls FOREVER with them. I hot glued them to a wire wreath frame and hung it on the door. Easy peasy! Note to self: hot glue sticks to tables. Use plastic underneath to avoid the embarrassment of prying it off the table before dinner time in front of the family. I almost stuck a candle in the middle and made it a center piece. Good thing the glue wasn’t really dry yet. What do you have hanging on your front…
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Homemade Knitted Gifts

    I have been hard at work making homemade knitted gifts for the Holiday. Several people mentioned how they enjoyed receiving a handmade gift last year and I am planning on doing the same type of thing again this season. Lately, I have been cranking gifts out of my free time in the evenings while I watch TV. It’s become a favorite past time of mine. No matter what sort of day I have had, no matter how much or how little I have accomplished, I relish the thought of sitting down for some quite time with my projects in the evening. I am most productive later in the day it seems. I was recently captivated by this beautiful super bulky yarn by Bernat. It is so soft and cozy, you can just feel the warmth. I followed the directions on the pattern label to make this chunky scarf. It was very easy and involves only the purl and knit stitches. Love it! I don’t make anything that’s complicated, by the way. I am just not there yet with my knitting skills. Don’t know if I ever will be! I decided need to make one of these scarves in every color, but I especially love the white. White is soooo luxurious. Here’s the instructions: Supplies: 1 skein super bulky yarn by Bernat and a pair of straight needles size 17 US Cast on 12 stitches. Knit 3 rows. Pattern Row 1: Knit 2, yo purl 2 (repeat 4 times), Knit 2. Repeat pattern row until you have used up…
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Arm Knitted Scarf

  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…
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DIY Knitted Dish Towels

    I am back to the creative projects. I have been painting by day, and knitting in the evenings when I am too tired to do much else. It’s been months since I was inspired to knit. I have several large unfinished projects. I am a bit frustrated with them right now, so I have decided to set them aside and focus on something simpler. Sometimes, the simplest things are the best. Like these little dish towels. A simple project, easy to make in a few hours time. I came across these beautiful Plymouth cotton yarns recently at the craft store. I thought they would be perfect for dish towels. I immediately was captivated by them. They are 100% mercerized cotton, very soft and smooth. I loved the feel of them. I am also loving these Susan Bates needles. They are easy to grip and their smooth texture works great with this yarn. These towels are super easy to make, even for the beginning knitter. Aren’t the colors yummy? Here’s what you will need: Size 8 (5mm) Susan Bates needles, or similar needles 3 Balls Plymouth Yarn, one each in Maui Rose, Margarita and Cleo Tones Slate Here’s what to do: Cast on 44 stitches. Knit one, purl one the length of the row. Repeat. Purl one, knit one the length of the row. Repeat. Repeat rows until you have reached a 10″ square. Cast off, weave in ends. I can’t wait to make more of these for holiday gifts! Enjoy!

DIY Knitted Hat

  We had a birthday here yesterday. Our sweet boy turned 16. It’s so hard to believe, seems like we just brought him home from the hospital yesterday. He is growing up far too fast. One of the issues I have with my kids growing up is that they have become harder to buy inexpensive gifts for. Remember the days when you could find a cute little outfit for a few bucks at a rummage sale? Or the simple gift of a few precious new books to read? Teenagers are hard to buy for. Even harder to make things for. I am undaunted by this challenge, I refuse to give in to conventional gift giving rules.  A few weeks ago I signed myself up for a knitting class on how to make hats. Living in Wi, we always have a need for hats. In fact, we loose about 3-4 of them per person per year. Somewhere there is a giant pile of lost hats from our family. I have decided to personally make my own so that they will stand out in a pile of lost hats, and will be distinctive and easy to find. I tend to favor bright colors, especially for the boys. This is the hat I made for our boy for his birthday. He loves it. He actually wore it IN PUBLIC. This is a good start! You would be amazed how easy it was to make. I am not saying I didn’t have issues, because I did. My dear friend had to come and help…
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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.…
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