How to pick up Lego

This is my son’s room:

before Lego amount

before Lego amount

it’s mostly Lego. After I put away the Mr. Potato Heads and the Fischer Price castle set, all I was left with was Lego. I tested a retrieval method suggested by my aunt, a sock put over the suction intake of a vacuum cleaner.

I used my hand sized vac and a wee sock with no match.

hand vac and black sock

hand vac and black sock


I was careful to leave a little bit less than just enough sock so when the suction was activated the sock couldn’t be pulled into the vacuum.
the sock-Lego collector

the sock-Lego collector


My finger is pointing to the length of the suction intake.

He has a very dense pile carpet in his room so the tiniest pieces of Lego burrow down deep to foil feet and knees passing overhead. The sock/vac set up took care of them, even the ones I couldn’t see. I would fill the sock then turn the vac off and let the pieces fall into a bucket.

Floor!

Floor!

Obviously using a larger vacuum with a longer sock would mean this takes even less time. This method had the added bonus of filtering out the fuzz and hair from the carpet so it didn’t wind up in Lego storage.

Laundry room decor

Here’s what we moved in to:

laundry room before (washer)

laundry room before (washer)

laundry room before

laundry room before

laundry room before (dryer)

laundry room before (dryer)

Basically a giant closet with the washer and dryer in it. Not a bad deal really but it lacked, shall we say, charm and any sort of class. Now we’ve moved in, we have shelving in the basement storage room so it was time to make the laundry room a decent place to frequent. I put all the extra traveling bags I had hung up inside a suitcase and on a basement shelf.

all the bags in here

all the bags in here

Then all the hangers into a garment bag, also onto a basement storage shelf.

all hangers into a garment bag, to the basement

all hangers into a garment bag, to the basement

I removed the hanging bar, which wasn’t even screwed into a stud to reveal the shelf behind.laundry room after (4)To fill in the white wall without painting it I hung a large, blue-themed painting we had that was just hanging in the basement toy room. laundry room after (5)I got Hubby to push the washer ever so slightly further from the dryer so that I could wedge in a milk crate to store some of the laundry cleaning products.

a milk crate in between units

a milk crate in between units

I put two 3M Command hooks on the side of the dryer, one for the black bag of missing socks, the other for the delicates washing bag.

dryer

dryer

I added plants, a diy scrapbook calendar I had made, and a lazy suzan that Hubby hated in the kitchen and voilà, a decent looking laundry room.

dryer

dryer

diy birthday calendar

diy birthday calendar

laundry room decor

laundry room decor

DIY deck of card box from matchless sock

It’s inevitable, when kids get card games, they destroy the boxes. Or they get so frustrated trying the get the cards vacuum sealed back inside the box that you throw the stupid thing out. Either way, you need a backup.

Matchless socks.

Measure the length of the deck super scientifically by placing the deck on top of the sock. give yourself an extra 0.5 inch at the bottom and cut. Turn inside out and sew the raw edges together. Turn right side out and insert card deck.

Easy peasy.

new card box from matchless socks

new card box from matchless socks

Reuse matchless socks or damaged socks

matchless socks

matchless socks

Cut sock in half, a little above the ankle.
1- Hem the foot part to become a running shoe sock.
2- Hem the top part to become a hot coffee cup holder.

3- Cut the feet off a bunch of socks and sew them together in a long snake. Stuff with more matchless socks. Sew the ends shut, draw on eyes and a mouth with permanent marker if you feel like it, and make a door draft stopper.

4- Fold sock in 2,3 or 4, whatever is needed to achieve desired thickness, and sew it together to make a washable mouse pad for your wrist.

5- Bend a metal coat hanger end into a square, put sock around it (probably have to sew in place) and use as a net to scoop bugs out of the kiddie pool.

6- Use to store individual sandals for the winter or travel.

7- Use to hold broken glass or other sharp garbage so it doesn’t rip through your trash bag.

8- To store pruning scissors.

9- To store regular scissors for travel.

10- Sew leg part shut to insulate a water bottle.

11- Make leg or arm warmers.

My husband makes homemade beer so we have a giant, glass jar for part of the process. It’s impossible to dry and we can’t leave it lying around for 2 weeks to “air dry” because we have toddlers. You can’t store it in the basement without saran-wrapping the opening or the bugs get in, but then the water can’t get out. Last night when I had a stroke of genius I popped a doomed matchless sock over the opening! The water can still get out, the bugs can’t get in and the 15 pound jar can go in the basement! Plus, we don’t pollute the environment with plastic wrap.

Other things to do with matchless socks

Stuff a matchless sock with another matchless sock and sew/knot it shut. The sock-ball has the advantage of being very fun when wet outdoors in the summer. It’ll work indoors for toilet paper tube bowling.

Potty training “accident” that didn’t make it all the way into the potty? Wipe up with a matchless sock and you can throw the offending rag in the garbage.

They also make good bean bags if you fill them with small dry beans like lentils. Older children can play hackey sack and teenagers can biff them at each other.

Grownup’s matchless socks hang around for no more than one month before they line the compost bin to suck up the goo that invariably leeches out from the compost bag so I don’t have to wash the mini-bin as often.

Children’s matchless socks hang around for longer because they may not necessarily have gotten eaten by the dryer. They may be wedged under a mattress, or stuck on a doll’s head. But even these, eventually, are officially labeled uni-socks and go out by the same route of the compost bin. Except for the one lucky sock last night.

DIY compost bin liners

If you live on a farm in the middle of nowhere and just feed all your kitchen waste to the dog or put it in a giant pile half an acre away, then congrats! You’re composting for free.

If you live in/near a town, you have a little green bin inside your house which you fill with kitchen waste then cart outside and dump in the giant green bin (which contains all the other yard waste) and the waste collection truck empties your big bin into their even bigger bin. Then it goes to a local farm to help grow the food you eat.

The part that costs money is the bag you put inside your little green bin (or you don’t and just wash the muck out every couple of weeks, congrats, free). To make the bags for free you need your weekly flyers or newpaper, an empty stamp booklet and your pile of left socks.

diy compost bin liner

diy compost bin liner

Make a little bag by following the instructions in the link of My Newspaper Subscription and My Compost.

http://noteasylivinggreen.com/2010/10/16/my-newspaper-subscription-and-my-compost/

Use the sticky part that surrounded the stamps as tape to hold the flap down. Put a sock in the bottom of the bin to absorb miscellaneous goo and put the bag on top. There you go, free!

Line flyers on the counter when you’re peeling potatoes, carrots or eggs to catch all the peelings. When you’re done just toss the whole mess into the compost bin and you won’t have to pick wee little carrot shavings out of the grimy sink.

Small doll clothing free patterns

Not all dolls are Barbie and Skipper size, some of them are quite a bit smaller. In fact, my Daughter has a whole dollhouse that came with several 3-4 inch dolls.

I came up with all these patterns, mostly by working and reworking them over and over again, so the patterns are copyrighted by me, Anna Merlini, 2013. You can use them to make your own doll clothes but please give me credit for the pattern. You can’t use the patterns to make clothing to sell.

For a small doll bed, see my blog: https://erythrocyte.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/crochet-doll-bed-free-pattern/

Knit Doll Skirt

Here’s a skirt pattern. The fuzzy purple yarn doesn’t help you get a feel for the “A” shape of it, so I included a faulty previous model beside it so you can see what’s going on. The pink one was too small, then it was on to purple-fuzzy because I’m using up scraps of yarn for these tiny projects.

Use 2.5 mm needles
Cast on 27 sts
beg K row, st st 4 rows
*K 7, K2 tog* to end
P one row
*K 6, K2 tog* to end
P one row
*K 5, K2 tog* to end
beg P row, st st 5 rows
Cast off and sew side of skirt together.

doll 4.25 inches tall

doll 4.25 inches tall

Knit Doll Shorts

Use 3.25 mm needles
Make two alike
Cast on 13 sts
Rib 3 rows (K1, P1)
beg K row, st st 8 rows
*Cast off 1 st at beg of next row, K2 tog at end of row, P one row.* Repeat * to * until 7 sts rem.
P one row
Cast off

Sew sides together from ribbing to decrease for leghole. Sew two cast off edges together. This doll about half a Barbie size.

Big shorts

Knit small doll shorts

Use 3.25 mm needles
Cast on 11 sts
2 rows rib (K1 P1)
beg K row, st st 6 rows
*Cast off 1 st at beg of next row, K2 tog at end of row, P one row.* Repeat * to * until 5 sts rem.
P one row
Cast off

Sew sides together from ribbing to decrease for leghole. Sew two cast off edges together. This doll is about 3.5 inches tall.

small shorts

Crochet Small doll sundress

For the approximately 4.25 inch tall doll. This dress has the advantage of being crocheted all in one piece, even the straps!
Use #7 crochet hook and ch 50, join.

Ch3, (skip 1 ch, dc in next ch) til end. Join to top of Ch 3.

Ch3, (skip 1 dc, dc in next dc) til end. Dc in ch3 space.

Hdc in ch3 space, ch1, *(skip 1 dc, hdc in next dc, ch 1) rep * til end, hdc in 1st hdc.

Sc in space, (ch 1, sc in space) til end. Sl st to first sc.

Ch1, (sc in each sc around) sl st to ch1. Repeat this row.

(Skip 1st sc, sc in next sc) til end. Join with sl st to first sc.

Ch 1, sc in ea sc. Join with sl st to first sc.

Straps
Ch 7 for strap, join with sl st to front of dress where you think the strap should go. Sc in next 2 sc, ch7, join strap at back with sl st. Weave in ends.

Dress is red and a 3.5 year old can put it on the doll herself.

Dress is red and a 3.5 year old can put it on the doll herself.

Knit doll blanket or crocheted doll blanket
Knit-Cast on the number of stitches to cover the doll and garter stitch a blanket, slipping the first stitch of every row. This will help to keep the blanket from rolling. A sc border around the blanket will help too.

Crochet-make a chain the length you need and sc in each ch, starting at 2nd ch fr hook. When you get to the end, ch1, TURN, sc in each sc, Ch1, TURN, until blanket is long enough.

Knit, crochet or sewn doll pillow
Well, you can probably figure this out yourself. Stuff it with stuffing, the cotton that comes in the top of a multivitamin bottle, rags torn into shreds, leftover lengths of yarn, or matchless socks.

How to soothe bug bites and chicken pox naturally with matchless socks and oatmeal

The mosquitoes have been particularly attracted to my daughter this year so the poor thing is covered in huge, itchy bumps. Since she’s also got plenty of icing in her hair from yesterday’s birthday party, it’s bath time!

anti itch

anti itch

To soothe her itchy skin I filled the toes of a matchless sock with dry, quick cooking oatmeal (about two handfuls) and knotted the sock shut. I tossed it under the running water in the tub and encouraged her to squish it around the water and on herself.

When the bath is over you throw the soggy sock in the trash and have one less matchless sock and one less itchy kid.

You can also dab a bug bite with vinegar to neutralize the poison that makes it itch, but I couldn’t bring myself to make her bumps sting, even a smidge, just to itch less later. She wouldn’t have understood. I would have cried.

This set up also works excellently for chicken pox, soak the kid twice a day. When our son was one, he had the chicken pox. We’d dunk him every time he threatened to scratch and the oatmeal bath stopped him.

DIY Halloween ghosts

Dummy proof and kid friendly.

Gather up white material and other scraps for stuffing.  White matchless socks would work too.

The bottom three “rectangles” are my ghost shells, the above piles are the stuffing for the heads.  The middle one is stuffed with leftover denim from my fold-n-smush jean basket project.  See how dummy proof this is, the rectangles don’t even have to be straight or the same size! And you can use anything for stuffing them, in fact, I recommend rags of old clothes, towels or matchless socks or sheets. This adds weight to the ghost so he billows gently in the wind rather than fly into the neighbour’s yard.

Wad up your stuffing and place in the middle of the rectangle.  Gather the fabric around the stuffing and tie the head shape with string.  Let the kids draw faces on the ghosts:  unsupervised with washable marker, SUPER SUPERVISED with permanent marker.  If you use permanent marker, you can hang the ghosts outside and they’ll survive the elements, drying naturally.  When Halloween is over either toss the ghosts in the dryer to store for next year or toss them out completely.

The middle ghost has a painted toilet paper tube above his head (from our homemade bowling game) so the string I threaded through the top of their heads for hanging them up is visible.  I believe the one on the right is my son’s interpretation of what Mommy looks like; upset because someone probably just made a mess.

Before we hung them up the kids were running around the house with their “angels” and “Mommy” and “Daddy” having all kinds of adventures.  This suggests to me that you could make these ghosts in different colours and use them for indoor imaginary play or for babies.