Adventures in arm knitting

So I stumbled upon this as I was searching for more recycled-fashion ideas and it stopped me in my repurposing tracks…

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A gorgeous, chunky infinity scarf in 30 minutes, using my arms as needles?  Um, yes please!  I taught myself crochet-basics this past spring and have always wanted to learn how to knit.  I figured this was a great way to start!

I watched the awesome tutorial by Simply Maggie and, after a few views and several pauses, had a pretty good rhythm down.  I whipped up this scarf relatively quickly,

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and used this tutorial (and my knowledge of crochet) to make a button cuff.

I am officially hooked on hooking yarn to my arm!  This is super easy, relaxing, fun, and quickly makes pieces that are warm, snuggly, and beautiful!

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The only downside – it snags and pulls more because the knit is so loose.  I had to take apart this scarf yesterday due to several pulls that I couldn’t fix.  I adore this color, so I plan on making another one asap.  I’m going to redo the cuff as well and maybe use suede or leather instead.  This cuff was too bulky with an already bulky scarf.

Now my days and nights are filled with thoughts of yarn, and I’m starting to get the Pinterest-sweats.  The list of arm knitting and crochet projects that I would like to take on are growing faster than I can process.  Everyone is getting homemade gifts for the holidays this year.

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Everyone.  🙂

 

 

Eat like a minimalist

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I remember the days when 90 calorie packs, Light & Fit yogurt, and Special K cereal were considered my “healthy” eating.  Why have 2000+ calories when you can have 1200 or less without sacrificing taste??

NOT. Even. Close.

Ugh.  Few things frustrate me more than the hypocrisy of healthy (sh*t) eating in America.  I bought into the craze for years thinking I was the boss-hoss at picking lighter foods and preparing easy, “diet” meals.  The ironic thing is I was 3 sizes bigger (pre-baby) than I am today and full of “food-like” chemicals.

Last year, my husband and I joined a very INTENSE nutrition challenge through our gym that required us to eat clean, 100% Paleo (minus natural sugars).  Holy f-ing cow.  I didn’t think I was going to make it a whole hour, but I ended up making it for 21 days straight without one slip-up.  I was incredibly proud.

While I couldn’t sustain that level of commitment to Paleo (we still consume dairy and are gluten-reduced), I did decide that my family and I needed to eat clean.  It became a non-negotiable in our budget and in our general life priorities.  The key is quite minimalist in nature.  I look for products with fewer ingredients that I recognize/can pronounce, free of processed sugars, and are the highest quality I can afford.  Since clean eating often requires more prep, I try to select recipes that have fewer ingredients to balance the time.  I like recipes that focus on the natural flavors of the food as much as possible any way.  (I made a roast last night that only required onion, garlic, a bay leaf, salt & pepper.  It was SO damn good.)

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I’m not perfect (80% of the time I do it, every time), but who wants to be perfect when there’s a Dairy Queen across the street?  (I’ll get my soft serve with crunch-coat and eat it with a smile.)  I used to scoff at bacon and eggs while I mowed through my boxed cereal.  Now bacon and eggs are a staple in our house in addition to full-fat dairy products.  I don’t portion my food and for the most part, eat guilt (and chemical) free.  Boom.

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Sweater weather

Love me some background music for today’s sweater repurposing session – a session that did not have a distinct plan (which I can tell may be my favorite).

I also purchased this sweater from Victoria’s Secret (you will see this pattern) in cream and black.  I figured they would be perfect for leggings since they are long and easy to accessorize with their neutral color.

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It’s functionality was deceiving.  While it’s cute overall, it’s anything but comfortable.  It’s clingy, itchy, and not very versatile.  I tried to expand its use with jeans, but it just looked lumpy and unflattering.  The foldover, cowl neck made it look awkward with a scarf.   It was left purposeless…

I started by making the same cuts as the previous sweater and decided to try out some of these ideas that I found on Pinterest.

I sewed over the raw ends of the arms and made the little stitch for my thumb to create arm warmers.  I also sewed over the raw edge of the body of the sweater to initially make a skirt.  It ended up being way too big and stretchy after it was cut-off from the rest of its friends, so I decided to use it as an infinity scarf instead.

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Love.  Them.

These new pieces came just in time for the rush of wintry weather.

‘Cause it’s too coooooooold for me here and now.  But I can hoooooold both my hands in new holes of my sweater.*

*I have a slight obsession in creating my own lyrics to songs.  Be prepared to see this often.

Sweater repurposing…a 2 for 1 session

I purchased these sweaters last year from Victoria’s Secret.

I bought these basic sweaters last year, but don't find them particularly exciting

At the time, I was urgently searching for work-appropriate, basic sweaters to replace what I got rid of during the Purge.  Since shipping with VS can take awhile, I decided to take a risk and buy in bulk.  While they did fill the immediate need, I found myself staring in the mirror feeling “meh” about the look they produced.  I tried scarves and pairing with different colored jeans, but nothing really popped.  This is how, while practically like-new, they ended up in my repurpose pile.

Since leggings are a fashion favorite of mine, I’m always on the lookout for items that pair well and broaden their use.  It can be difficult to find tops long enough to make it look like I’m using my leggings as an accessory, NOT pants.  I have pushed that envelope over the years, so I figured if I can’t wear these sweaters “as is” with leggings, why not build some accessories for my favorite accessory?

Sweaters are the perfect item to easily turn into a duet of functional fashion – skirts and legwarmers!

I started with this little lady.

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First, I cut off the arms and neckline of the sweater.

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I pinned over (and slightly under) the raw edge and sewed the top of the skirt to make a casing for the elastic.

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I measured the elastic to fit around my waist and weaved it through the casing to complete the skirt.

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I followed the exact same steps to make the legwarmers, but decided to use scraps from my t-shirt vest project as ties instead of elastic (double-repurposing points)!

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Here is the finished product.

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(My daughter was so excited she had to get in on the action.)

I love the look and intend on doing the same with the grey sweater.  I’m not kicked apart about a coral or bright blue skirt, so I may try a scarf or belt with those.

It makes me smile to know that days before this sweater was doing nothing but collecting dust.   Just like my t-shirt vest, I couldn’t wait to wear these newly recycled pieces!

Deceiving spaces

This summer, my husband and I watched the documentary, TINY:  A Story About Living Small. While I couldn’t wrap my brain around that level of downsizing, it did inspire us to want our own version of a “tiny” home someday.  I follow Small House Swoon and have definitely fallen in love over and over again with these little slices of cozy, minimalist heaven.

Today I stumbled upon this video and was completely mesmerized.

While 86 sq ft of space certainly wouldn’t work for 3 people, it got me wondering if this whole “room space in drawers” concept could be used to maximize the space in individual rooms of a tiny home.  Beautiful.  Simple  Functional.

As long as I have enough room for a family-friendly table, plenty of natural light and a view, our small house would most certainly fill my heart.  Anything else we need could fit into a well-planned drawer.

Dem chucks doe

In my pursuits to establish a minimalist wardrobe, timeless pieces are key.  I want my wardrobe to be a personified fountain of youth.  This leads me to highlight my recent birthday gift – a sweet pair of Chuck Taylors.

Not only have chucks transcended time (seriously…they have been around since 1917), but they hold sentimental value in our family.  I did not have the opportunity to meet my late father-in-law, but I have met his most beloved fashion staple.  I enjoy hearing stories about his chucks and how he considered them all-occasion shoes.  His shoe legacy lived on in his children and their milestones.  We all wore chucks to my sister-in-law’s wedding reception as tribute and my daughter received her first pair of chucks when I was just 5 months pregnant.

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Eleanor and Grandpa’s chucks

Our family love also extends to our refrigerator.

A delightful set of chuck-magnets from my mother-in-law

A delightful set of chuck magnets from my mother-in-law

I didn’t understand how my father-in-law could have worn his chucks with everything.  But now I do…

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…because no matter what’s above, I can smile and know dem chucks doe…

Happy (Belated) Halloween

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays growing up.  Part of this was due to my birthday falling 4 days before, but the other is the opportunity for imagination and creativity to manifest itself in the form of a costume.  This year I was proud to go as the mom of the world’s most adorable chick!

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This sweet face stole a lot of hearts and, by default, a lot of candy.  Hope your Halloween was magical!