Cupcake Crochet Dishcloth

 

Cupcake crochet and flower dishcloths - the simple hive

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While perusing the yarn aisle at my local craft store, I happened upon a free crochet pattern for a cupcake dishcloth. The sign said “Take One”, so I did, because I always do what I’m told. Yep.

Then I got home and promptly put it away and completely forgot about it until a few weeks ago when I woke up with an excruciating pain in my foot. The first step out of bed and a severe pain in my foot told me I wasn’t going anywhere.

Because I have a difficult time not doing anything, I shuffled and crawled over to the yarn bag and came across this pattern by Twinkie Chan.  I grabbed my yarn and went to work

I think the name Twinkie Chan is partly why I decided to work up the pattern. With a name like that, surely it would be cute!

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Solar Clothes Dryer aka Clothesline

BIG

Today is a sad day in the hive.

Our clothes dryer died.

I don’t how long I’ll be in mourning, but while I’m mourning the loss, I’ll only wear clothes that are black and shades of gray.  I’ll pretty much look the same as always, is what I’m saying.

Luckily for me, the hubby built a clothesline not long after we bought our house.  Problem solved.

We are in Central Texas, so if it had to happen, the death of the dryer was well-timed.

Depending on how much the repairs are for the dryer, or if we decide to buy a new one, we may be without a dryer for a while.  I have not been impressed with the life span of our 3 year-old washer.  It seems to have contracted an illness and is unable to drain and spin properly the first time around.  Poor thing.

If we need to use our clothesline into the summer, the good news is that a full load dries in 10 minutes.  (I’m making lemonade with all the lemons life continues to bless me with.)  That’s just enough time to slightly recover from the heat stroke I’ll suffer from hanging out the clothes.  See?  It all works so perfectly!

So, if you have a clothesline, or decide to build one because you’re green and love the earth and all, you will need these:

 

thesimplehive.com

thesimplehive.com

They are known by many names, but we found these in the camping/sporting goods department at Walmart.  They might be called clothesline, volleyball net or rope tightener.  I call mine Mary.

You can order them online here.

That’s all.  Now I’m off to bury the dryer.  Do you think it would mind if I used a refrigerator box for the casket?

diy wool dryer balls with essential oils

Now that I have shared with you what I use for fabric softener, I’ll reveal what I use in place of dryer sheets!

You are all on the edge of your seats, I know.

dryer balls

It’s dryer balls!

Dryer balls fluff laundry as it tumble dries, reducing drying time and making your clothes feel soft and fluffy without leaving a skin-irritating film on your clothes. You may have heard a tip to toss tennis balls into the dryer or you may have seen dryer balls made from rubbery plastic sold in stores. I prefer to avoid the chemicals in tennis balls and plastic can release dangerous compound when heated. Neither of these thrill me so I made some using wool yarn!

These are exciting times, man! Ditch the Downy habit! You can do it!

I seem very excited today. It might be the mood-enhancing essential oils, or that I just love a good DIY project. Especially one that is as simple as this one is. Top it off with not spending four bucks for a box of dryer sheets and I’m downright giddy!

Here’s what you need:

100% wool yarn
crochet hook
pantyhose

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If you have wool yarn leftover from the scarf you knitted Aunt Suzy, now is the time to gather up all your scraps. The only catch is, it must be 100% wool yarn. No substitutes. Sorry, on this I must be a stickler. The point is, we will wash and dry and agitate the heck out of these wool fibers to make them lock together and become one with each other. This beautiful process is also known as felting. It’s what happens when you don’t pay attention to garment care instructions and put the lovely sweater you received as a Christmas gift through the washer and dryer only to realize your mistake when you pull out what looks to be a doll sweater. Then you look around with a puzzled expression wondering how a doll sweater made its way into your load of laundry until the sweater begins to look vaguely familiar and it hits you what you have done.

Breathe.

Moving along.

Take your yarn and wind it into a tight ball about the size of a baseball. You can go with tennis ball size or even softball if that’s your game, but I did baseball size and it seems to work just fine.

tuck your tail

tuck your tail

When you have the size you prefer, pull the tail through many layers using a crochet hook. Tuck the tail deep into the ball to completely secure.

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You can make as many as you would like. Three seemed like a good number to me because I ran out of yarn after the third one. Three was meant to be.

Now, raid your drawer for some pantyhose. I happened to have a perfectly good pair of suntan colored hosiery hanging around for more than a decade because I’m too pasty to pull off “suntan” without looking like I’m part oompa loompa and also, I despise wearing pantyhose. Use whatever you have, folks!

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Cut a leg off the pantyhose and shove one ball into the foot. Tie and knot and put in the next ball. Keep going until all your yarn ball are in the hose with knots in between and at the end.

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Now it’s time to wash a load of laundry. This just keeps getting better, doesn’t it? Towels or sheets are good choices because you want to wash this load on HOT and EXTRA HEAVY or whatever cycle is the most brutal on your washing machine.

After washing, throw the load of laundry into the dryer, yarn balls and all. Don’t take them out of the pantyhose just yet. Use the highest heat setting o your dryer.

When the drying cycle is complete, snip away the pantyhose from the yarn balls.

We are almost there!

Take your essential oils of choice.  Lavender lemon is lovely, but you can do whatever you want.  I’m flexible. If you are having a difficult time deciding which oils to use, this chart may help.

Apply 10-20 drops on each ball, until desired strength is achieved. This may take a few tries to get it right. I have noticed that 20 drops per ball is enough to leave a pleasant scent in the dry laundry.

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Now they are ready to use!

We are a family of six, so laundry is an everyday occurrence. When not in use, I just leave the balls in the dryer. If you prefer to contain the scent longer, store them in a glass jar with a lid until ready to use.

If you’re anything like me, you will toss these into the dryer with your wet laundry and immediately reach up to grab a dryer sheet. Talk about a habit!

simple homemade cleaning concentrate and fabric softener

homemade cleaning concentrate

You do know what time of year it is, don’t you?  It’s time to begin Spring cleaning!  Spring-like weather is just around the corner! Although, depending on which part of the country or world you live in, you might be laughing at me right now.  That’s ok.  I don’t mind.  But, here in central Texas, we have been flirting with temps in the upper 70’s this past week!  I’m torn between pure and utter joy for this warmer weather and the far-away doom of blazing summer heat that damages my garden and my spirit.

But for now, I’ll push away the summer dread and just full-on flip over Spring!  Maybe, I’m not normal, but I actually love Spring cleaning.  I do.  Crazy sauce, I know.  Over the years, I have pared down my cleaning arsenal to what works well.  Today, because the world should be a cleaner, greener place, I’m sharing with you my favorite cleaning concentrate!

Usually I stick with baking soda, vinegar, a liquid castile soap like Dr. Bronner’s and a few essential oils.  Peppermint, lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, orange, and grapefruit essential oils can be found in my cabinet at any given time.  I use them sparingly.  Sometimes I just go the vinegar, baking soda, water route in my cleaning routine, but for the cold and flu season, I add germ-busting essential oils to the mix.  For Spring cleaning, they are my secret weapon to a clean, fresh and healthy home.

So, what’s in this cleaning concentrate of which I speak?  I’m glad you asked!

the usual suspects

the usual suspects

Vinegar

isopropyl alcohol

essential oils: tea tree, lavender, grapefruit (or whatever essential oils float your love boat.)

Here’s what you do.  Grab a glass jar (plastic and essential oils don’t get along) and add 4 cups of vinegar.

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Add 1/2 cup of alcohol and 20-30 drop of your favorite essential oils.

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Put a lid on the jar and shake to combine.  That’s it!  Now your ready to use this crazy concoction!

For use as a fabric softener, add 1/4 or less to the rinse cycle.  I add it to my washing machine’s fabric softener dispenser with no ill effects.  Go with your heart on this.

As an all-purpose cleaner, put 1/2 cup of the mixture in a spray bottle and fill the rest of the way with water.  Shake and spray on counter-tops, windows, etc.

I also use this same mixture to mop my wood, ceramic tile and vinyl floors.  In a bucket. combine 2 gallons of water and 1/2 cup of the cleaning concentrate.  The alcohol helps it to dry quickly, so the wood doesn’t stay wet for an extended period.

Because I like pretty things, I made some labels to share.  Just follow this link and print!

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Once printed, I cut out the labels and placed them face down on the sticky side of clear contact paper.

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I trimmed around the label, leaving a border of sticky to apply to my glass jar and  spray bottle.  If you don’t have clear contact paper, use strips of clear packing tape in the same way.  Or, you can just grab a Sharpie marker and scrawl the contents across the jar.  Either way.

all-purpose spray and cleaning concentrate

all-purpose spray and cleaning concentrate

If you have any tips or ideas to streamline cleaning tasks or any do-it-yourself cleaners, I’d love to hear about it!  By simplifying the cleaning routine, there is more time for play!