Epic DIY Tube Slide

These clever and resourceful people set up an epic do-it-yourself tube slide for an afternoon of fun at a local public reservoir!

All it takes is a long roll of heavy-duty plastic sheeting, a can of gas, an irrigation pump, a long irrigation hose, and access to a body of water with a sloping shore.

A large DIY tube slide set up at a public reservoirA large DIY tube slide set up at a public reservoirA large DIY tube slide set up at a public reservoirA large DIY tube slide set up at a public reservoirA large DIY tube slide set up at a public reservoir

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Earring Organization with Buttons!

I store pairs of stud earrings by inserting them into a button

A great way to store stud earrings and keep them together so that you don’t have to spend time hunting for the other half of a pair in your jewelry box trays is to put each pair into a button.

These particular buttons are 7/8″ in diameter and the distance between the two holes is 5/16″, which makes them big enough to accommodate all my stud earrings.

A package of about 20 basic plastic 7/8″ two-hole buttons cost me around $2 at my local JoAnn store. The fact that they were purple was just a bonus!

In Which the Boy Scout Handbook Comes in Handy

Homemade hat rackThe Problem

I have quite the collection of hats and caps, which until now I’ve kept in a drawer. But since it was my desire to hang them somewhere I could see them, I bought some great laundry hook clips on Amazon and attempted to McGyver a place to hang them using items I already had at home. But—alas—I soon discovered that I didn’t have an extra clothes hanging rod on hand.

The Solution

While I looked at the existing clothes rod in my closet, the thought came to me: You could lash a perpendicular spar to the top of the clothes rod!

And in my memory arose an image of photocopied pages of knot-tying instructions from the Boy Scout Handbook that I had studied in my youth for my 4-H horsemanship projects, several of which dealt with various types of lashing.

So, thanks to this great online tutorial on making a square lashing, and using what I believe to be a former toilet plunger handle, I created a homemade hat and cap hanging rack in my closet.

I think I just leveled up in McGyver-style home project skills.

Square lashing of wooden dowel to clothes rod

Square lashing of wooden dowel to clothes rod

Square lashing of wooden dowel to clothes rod

 

Homemade hat rack

The Stuff in the Vehicle

Repurposed cosmetic bags purchased from thrift storesThe Problem

There is never enough storage space in one’s vehicle for all the items one finds it necessary to cart around.

The Solution

I buy zippered cosmetics/toiletries bags and containers from my local thrift stores, clean them up, and use them to store items in my vehicle. They work perfectly for holding all sorts of oddly-shaped things and for keeping dissimilar things neatly separated. They can also be stuffed into those sometimes awkwardly-shaped storage compartments in vehicle doors, floors, consoles, and dashboards.

  • Tools
  • Chains
  • Hitches
  • Bike rack pins
  • Tie-downs
  • Bungee cords
  • Audio cables
  • Car chargers
  • Parking garage tokens
  • Coupons—Yes, I keep coupons in my vehicle because a coupon left at home does no one any good
  • Maps
  • Tissues
  • Reusable produce bags

Repurposed cosmetic bags purchased from thrift stores

Why I Love Audiobooks

The wonderful thing about audiobooks is that I can do other things while I’m listening to them. They are perfect for multi-tasking. I love that I can listen to an audiobook and do any of the following:

  • Drive—Better than texting or talking on a cell phone!
  • Exercise—A great reason to go for a walk or a run!
  • Housework—Wash dishes, fold laundry!
  • Yardwork—Weed the garden, snap green beans!
  • Crafty things—Sew and crochet, organize photos!
  • Take a bath—No danger of dropping a book in the water 🙂

A paperback novel titled The Blue Castle by L. M. MontgomeryRecently, I wanted to re-read the novel The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery, but I didn’t have the time.

I could not find a commercial audiobook production of this novel, but I was fortunate to find a well-done amateur reading on YouTube.

 

 

 

 

Here is the first chapter:

And here is a link to the playlist for the entire novel:
Audiobook—The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery

Almost Curvy

The Interesting Information

Recently—thanks to an Internet search brought about by my adventures shopping for jeans that fit—I learned that there is a real way to determine if one has a curvy figure.

This is a measurement that clothing designers use when designing “curvy” styles for women who have a “curvy” body type.

You are officially curvy if you have a waist-to-hip differential of 0.75.

For example, my waist measurement is 30″ and my hip measurement is 36″.

When I multiply my hip measurement of 36″ by 0.75, the result is 27″.

So, if my waist measurement were 27″, I would have an officially “curvy” figure.
However, because my actual waist measurement is 30″, I have an “almost curvy” figure.

The Real Life Implications

In real life—probably because I also have a very short waist*—I find that jeans with a curvy cut through the waist and hip fit me much better than jeans with a regular, straight, or loose fit through the waist and hip.

So, even if you don’t think of yourself as having a curvy figure, you can take some measurements and find out for certain. Knowing this may help you try on the right jeans during future shopping expeditions!

*I also learned that there are several ways to determine if one has a short, regular, or long waist. A topic to cover in another post!

The Hair in the Bathroom

The Problem

As a typical human being, I’ve got about 100,000 hairs on my head. At any given moment, about 90 percent of those hairs are in a growing phase—interestingly, each hair has a lifespan of 3 to 5 years—and about 10 percent of them are in a resting phase. After the resting phase, the roots loosen and the hairs fall away from my head.

Again, as a typical human being, it is normal for me to lose about 100 hairs a day. What this means in real life is that a lot of my former hairs end up lying around on the bathroom floor.

But, as I am a tidy soul, I don’t enjoy having (or seeing) strands of hair drifting about and collecting in the corners of the bathroom.

The Solution

Several years ago, I bought a handy little dust buster vacuum, which stays plugged in and neatly tucked behind the toilet. Its sole purpose is to vacuum up the hair in the bathroom.

About every other day, I run this little vacuum over the floor and into the corners of the bathroom to collect the hundreds of hairs that have taken leave of my head. It works great!

A dust buster vacuum neatly tucked away in the bathroom

 

A Tale of Three Crocheted Caps! Part 2

THE PROJECT

To recap, here’s the challenge I set myself:

Find the best yarn to use for this crocheted newsboy cap pattern:

A photo of a crocheted newsboy cap

Swirls Cap by Sophia Kessinger

I figured I’d end up making a lot of these cute caps for myself and other people. So, I crocheted this cap three times using three different yarns.

See Part 1 of this post, if you’re interested in all the yarn and swatching details!

 

 

Now, I’ve compare the three caps to find out which cap looks the best, and which is the best yarn to use when I make more of these caps.

THE EVALUATION

The Caps

A cap crocheted with Caron Simply Soft yarn

Crocheted with Caron Simply Soft yarn

A cap crocheted with Lion Brand Heartland yarn

Crocheted with Lion Brand Heartland yarn

A cap crocheted with Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash yarn

Crocheted with Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash yarn

I used the following three yarns to crochet these caps:

Green: Caron Simply Soft
Brown: Lion Brand Heartland
Blue: Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the ways I compared the finished caps.

Fit

All three caps came out true to the pattern gauge and fit my head perfectly.

Appearance

Brown: Lion Brand Heartland
This cap is the most drapey. The yarn in this cap is dense and not very see-through.
Green: Caron Simply Soft
This cap has a medium amount of drape. The yarn in this cap is also dense, and not very see-through.
Blue: Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash
This cap has the most stiffness and the least amount of drape. This cap is also the most “airy,” in that it has the most space between the stitches and is the most see-through.

Comfort

Brown: Lion Brand Heartland
The inside of the band on this cap is soft and comfortable.
Green: Caron Simply Soft
The inside of the band on this cap is soft and comfortable.
Blue: Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash
As I suspected, the 100% wool fiber content of the yarn used in this cap proved to be somewhat scratchy. The inside of the band on this cap is itchy. I plan to sew a cloth lining to the inside of the band.

THE WINNER

Both the Caron Simply Soft yarn and the Lion Brand Heartland yarn are great yarns to use with this pattern and make great caps.

I would not use the Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash again with this pattern. If I wanted to use a natural-fiber yarn with this pattern, I would try to find a softer wool or wool-blend yarn so that I would not have to do the extra work of sewing a cloth lining to the band of the cap.

Crocheted swatch of Lion Brand HeartlandFor me, the winning yarn for this challenge is the Lion Brand Heartland yarn. It edged out the Caron Simply Soft yarn simply because it is slightly more drapey and it comes in a variety of heathered and tweedy colorways that I like.

A Tale of Three Crocheted Caps! Part 1

THE PROJECT

So here’s the challenge I set myself:

Find the best yarn to use for this crocheted newsboy cap pattern:

A photo of a crocheted newsboy cap

Swirls Cap by Sophia Kessinger

It’s a cute cap, and I figure that I’ll end up making a lot of them for myself and other people. So, I thought it would be a fun project to crochet this cap three times using three different yarns.

In the end, I’ll compare the three caps to find out which cap looks the best, and which is the best yarn to use when I make future cap incarnations.

THE PATTERN

I bought the above pictured crochet Swirls Cap pattern by Sophia Kessinger on Ravelry (www.Ravelry.com) for USD $5.

Here’s the link to the pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/swirls-cap

Note that a free membership is required to access the Ravelry website. And, just in case you were wondering:

“Ravelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, project and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration. …Ravelry is a great place for you to keep notes about your projects, see what other people are making, find the perfect pattern and connect with people who love to play with yarn from all over the world in our forums.”

So, if you’re into crocheting and knitting, check it out.

THE YARN

The Hunt

The Swirls Cap pattern calls for 220 to 280 yards of light worsted weight yarn.

I browsed the aisle of my local Michaels store and choose the following three yarns for this experiment:

Caron Simply Soft
Lion Brand Heartland
Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash

A photo of Caron Simply Soft yarn, Lion Brand Heartland yarn, and Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash yarn

Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash (Blue), Caron Simply Soft (Green), Lion Brand Heartland (Brown)

My criteria for choosing these yarns were cost, softness, and quality.

There are real-life and online specialty yarn stores that carry a wide variety of wonderful—and spendy!—yarns, but I chose to buy the yarn for this experiment at Michaels because it was a local store and all of the yarns stocked there were reasonably priced—especially when one has coupons! So, I picked out what I thought were the softest and highest quality yarns on offer there at Michaels.

The Stats

Here are several ways to compare the yarns I bought.

Cost of Yarn

Caron Simply Soft
$4.49 for 315 yards x 1 skein = $4.49 total
Lion Brand Heartland
$6.49 for 250 yards x 1 skein = $6.49 total
Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash
$5.79 for 125 yards x 2 skeins = $11.58 total

Unit Cost of Yarn

Caron Simply Soft
$0.01 per yard
Lion Brand Heartland
$0.03 per yard
Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash
$0.05 per yard

Fiber Content of Yarn

Caron Simply Soft
100% acrylic
Lion Brand Heartland
100% acrylic
Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash
100% wool

Weight Category of Yarn

Caron Simply Soft
#4 Worsted weight
Lion Brand Heartland
#4 Worsted weight
Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash
#3 Light worsted weight

Softness of Yarn

Lion Brand Heartland
Most soft
Caron Simply Soft
Soft
Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash
Least soft

THE SWATCHES

The gauge for this pattern is: 4 dc (double crochet) stitches = 1 inch.

Here are the swatches I made of all three yarns.

Swatches of crocheted yarn

Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash (Blue), Caron Simply Soft (Green), Lion Brand Heartland (Brown)

All three yarns are exactly on gauge with the recommended hook size (yay!), but you’ll note that the swatches for the Heartland and Simply Soft yarns are fuller, in terms of the space the yarn occupies, than the swatch for the Classic Wool DK Superwash yarn.

I’m excited to see how these differences in the yarns affect the three caps I’m going to crochet!

Crocheted swatch of Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash

Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash (Blue)

Crocheted swatch of Caron Simply Soft

Caron Simply Soft (Green)

Crocheted swatch of Lion Brand Heartland

Lion Brand Heartland (Brown)

See Part 2 of this post!