Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pin 92

Original pin:
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It's raining babies around me. I love to make baby gifts. One of my dearest friends was having her baby shower this past weekend and I really wanted to make this for her. I found it originally on ravelry.com and pinned it to my crochet board. Ravelry had it rated as easy. Just what I need.

I grossly underestimated the amount of time this would take me. I am no crochet professional, that is for sure. I wanted to start this when we were on vacation but I didn't have time to get the yarn before we left so I had to wait until we got home. That gave me just 8 days to whip this together. I worked on it night and day, during every class my child had at the rec center, during nap time. . . and I finished it the morning of the shower, just in time, whew! It was far from perfect. I wish I had had more time to make it perfect. I can only hope the mistakes that are so obvious to me are not obvious to everyone else! I know the baby won't notice them, at least! I can say that although I felt rushed in making it, and its not perfect, it was made with lots and lots of love.

The pattern itself was gorgeous. I just love it so much. I made it with 100% cotton yarn (I Love Cotton from Hobby Lobby) and it was soooo soft. I wanted to keep it for myself and snuggle up with it. And it was easy, I'll admit that. I did have to google how to crochet in the back loop.

I have already started the next one. I don't know who it will be for yet, I have so many babies growing around me right now! But I guess whoever's popping around the time I wrap it up will get this one! I predict that at a leisurely pace, this will take around one month.

I didn't get a great picture of the finished product, I had to wrap it up and head out to the shower! But I snapped a quick close-up right before it went in the gift bag.
The scalloped edge is the border. The blanket is folded over on itself so I could show you the border. My rows were straight, but my picture made them look crooked.
Total cost: Not saying--it was for a gift! But I used 4 1/2 small skeins of cotton.

Total time: 7 days, all consuming! But totally worth it.

Final verdict: I want one for myself! Do you think and adult sized one would weigh a gazillion pounds? Probably.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pin 91

Original pin:


After our vacation, I really needed to kick start my diet back. Ever since Easter the scale has been a-creepin' up and I had hit and surpassed that number that told me to start reigning it in. The website has this really good video on it too. It really is Jillian Michaels and my favorite part is where she tells me I can drink caffeine. YESSSSSSS!

I drank this for 7 days. I ate a healthy diet--nothing crazy but just stuck to my regular My Fitness Pal app goals. I will sheepishly admit I didn't even exercise. I didn't mind the taste. I like water with lemon and when it was cold, to me that is what it tasted like. If it came to room temperature, the dandelion root flavor was more noticeable and it tasted remeniscent of hose water. Not really preferable, but something I can drink anyway.

This is what 60 oz looks like.

After the first 24 hours, I was down three pounds.  When my husband heard this, he got in on the action, too. I kind of plateaued there for a few days. On day 6 I was down 6.2 pounds and then I went out for fondue for my girlfriend's birthday celebration. After the 7th day, and after a night of fonude and wine, I was still down a total of 4.4 pounds.

Yes, I know it is just water weight. I know it will come back easily. However, it was a fabulous way to get me going on my diet again. I have never, ever felt less bloated--especially in my belly. This really flattened out my belly like no ab circut ever has. This would be a great way to slim down before a big event.

So now, a few days off the drink, I am still down 5 pounds. My belly is not as flat as it was on day 7, but the weight is staying off--for now. I am trying to keep up my water consumption. I was curious all along if you would have the same results with a dedicated 60 oz per day of straight water, but I don't think so. I don't know how this small amount of additives really works, I figured it would be so diluted that the effect couldn't really be that strong.

It is a diuretic. I'm not going to get all nurse-y on you and tell you all the signs and symptoms that led me to that conclusion, but I am going to get a little nurse-y on you and tell you that you should not do this if you are already taking diuretics or have kidney disease. If you have any health problems for which you take medications, you should check with your doctor before adding anything with diuretic effects to your regimen and before adding any alternative medicine (like herbal tea). Okay. Nursely advice over.

Total cost: $10 (Dandelion root tea was around $8 for 30 bags) You could do this 5 times with the amount of supplies, so really it is more like $2

Total time: Easily fit into my daily routine. It takes less than 5 minutes to mix it up daily for 7 days.

Final verdict: I wouldn't recommend this to everyone for reasons stated above. However, it was amazingly awesome. Best kick start to a diet ever. I will do this again. Either before a big event or as a post-vacation detox.

UPDATE 7/18/12:

There have been tons of questions in the comments so I will try to address these here:

1.  Where can I find dandelion root tea?
I found it at Vitamin Shoppe and GNC. Many people reported finding it at Wal-Mart and Target with the teas/coffees.

2. Can I do this everyday instead of just 7 days?
I would not recommend that. It is a diuretic drink. Doing this everyday could mess up your electrolyte balance. After seven days, switch to plain water. Reserved this treatment for once every few months or so.

3. Do you eat while doing this?
Absolutely!! Eat a normal, balanced, healthy diet. I ate exactly the same quality/quantity of food as I do every other day of the month.

4. Do you drink anything else while doing this?
Absolutely! I, personally, tried to stay away from anything with artificial ingredients and sugary drinks. I drank coffee in the morning, black, no sugar or cream. After 60 oz of this, I drank as much plain water or unsweetened tea as I wanted.

5.  I did not have any side effects other than increased urination and weight loss while doing this. If you experience any concerning side effects stop drinking this immediately!

Information below from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine:

Side Effects and Cautions
  • Dandelion use is generally considered safe. However, there have been rare reports of upset stomach and diarrhea, and some people are allergic to the plant.
  • People with an inflamed or infected gallbladder, or blocked bile ducts, should avoid using dandelion.
  • Tell all your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care. For tips about talking with your health care providers about CAM, see NCCAM's Time to Talk campaign.
I would also recommend this information from the National Institute of Health on dandelion use.

A few excerpt from the link above:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of dandelion during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Ragweed allergy: Dandelion can cause allergic reactions when taken by mouth or applied to the skin of sensitive people. People who are allergic to ragweed and related plants (daisies, chrysanthemums, marigolds) are likely to be allergic to dandelion. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking dandelion.

Be cautious using dandelion while also taking antibiotics, lithium, any medications changed by the liver (click the link above to see a list of these), and diuretics or "water-pills." 

6.  Can I substitute...?
I did not create the detox or study the recipe and results. Jillian Michaels did. I followed the directions exactly, but substitutions may work. If you substitute and it works or doesn't work, leave a comment here so we can share the information.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pin 90

Original pin:
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I have made this dress before (See Pin 37) but the link actually has two styles on it. The long one in the pin is what I made first. This time I made the short version. I get so many compliments on the long dress and it is so comfortable I decided I needed the short one too.

This time I used a tank in my closet that was ooooollllldddd and some fabric that had been in my stash since well before my first child was born. In a nutshell, this dress was free!

There was a small drawback. Because the tank was so old and soft and stretchy to the point of being a little too stretchy, it gave me trouble sewing the two pieces together. I made it rather late on night and I just kept bungling it over and over. The weight of the skirt pulls the weak over stretched fabric down in the back which makes the back dip lower than the front. I had to make an extra wide sash to compensate for that.

It has actually been a while since I made it but I kept forgetting to take a picture of it when I had it on. I still love it and I get compliments on it all the time too! This tutorial is truly a winner!

Total cost: $0

Total time: I think I spent 2 hours on it because I kept bungling it up.

Final verdict: Love, love! Is it obvious since I have made this dress twice??

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pin 89

Original pin:
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Cafe Rio Chicken. I'm not sure what/where Cafe Rio is, but the recipe looked tasty. And easy.

Which it was--both. This was a slow cooker recipe that was simple to mix up. It smelled delicious while it was cooking and required little prep work so it would be easy to through together on a busy morning.

I served it over salads with black beans and corn for the grown ups and just as it was for the kiddos. You could really put it on/in anything. I think I'm going to use it for sandwiches today for lunch.  My husband really, REALLY liked it. He was wary of the Italian dressing, but was able to overcome that after one bite.

I had just a little under two pounds of chicken so my chicken was a little saucier than the original picture.

Total cost: $10 for 8 large servings

Total time: Prep time 5 minutes, shred time 5 minutes, plus all day slow cooking.

Final verdict: 3 out of 4 of the family loved it. The one dissenter opted not to even try it, so there is a chance that his opinion could change. We will be making this again.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pin 88

Original pin:
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This site listed a bunch of ideas for making car traveling with kids easier.

I didn't use all her ideas, but a few of them came in super handy for the ride. First, see that turquoise square bucket in the picture? That fits so perfectly in between car seats and I just happened to have a whole slew of them in the playroom. We packed up our red one with books and toys and put it in between the seats for the ride so they would have easy access to help themselves to their things. This was good and bad. Good because they could reach their things. Lu was really good at putting the toys back in the bucket and helping his brother reach things he wanted. Bad because Wild Bill could reach things when he was mad and would just start grabbing and throwing anything and everything he could get his hands on. This bucket provided an endless supply of ammo. Also, the placement of the bucket made it hard for Lu to reach his buckle to put himself in his seat. Not a deal breaker but something to consider. I think this style of bucket would work even if you didn't have two seats to wedge it in between. It is sturdy and wide so I don't think it would slide around or tip easily.

The second tip I took from this site was about snack baskets. I purchased each boy a basket from the dollar store. Then I loaded up one of our large baskets with our trip snacks. I filled each boys small basket with snacks and juice boxes and placed them on the floor in front of their seats. When they wanted a snack it was easy to reach, gave them a selection while still allowing me to control their options (as opposed to the unlimited gas station selection or eating 5 packages of Goldfish in a row out of the main bucket). This worked out really well for us. There was zero fighting over who got the last package of cheddar bunnies because neither of them really knew what was in the other's basket. Once we were in the condo I replenished their baskets daily and they chose their snacks from here. This is a little like we do at home only they share two big baskets in the pantry.

The baskets fit perfectly next to their eating tubs on the floor.
Those were the two items that I took from this blogger. The other things that helped us out for the trip were:

1. They each got to pick out a toy at the dollar store earlier in the week but not play with it until the road trip. I put these in the red bucket and it was the first item they pulled out. I think they each played with them for the first hour or so. Dubya picked out the little mermaids (his current obsession) and really played with them the entire trip. Slept, ate, and bathed with the things. One of them is balding now because she had so much love. Best dollar he ever spent.

2. I let the boys pick out a new CD at Target. They were dying to listen to it but I made them wait until the trip. Jake and the Neverland Pirates soundtrack--good for a beach vacation.

3.  We had a garage sale last month. In cleaning out the closets I found my old Discman. You can bet that puppy got a lot of use on this trip. There is only so much Jake and the Neverland Pirates soundtrack a girl can listen to. One spin on the car player and it is into the Discman with you. As a bonus to me, I loaded the disc onto my iPod too so that one boy could listen to it on the Discman and the other could use the iPod. Everyone was happy.

4. They did each get a turn on the iPad each way. We actually loaded a new game while we were gone so on the return trip it was all new fun.

5. A big stash of wipes and hand sanitizer nearby kept everything, and everyone, relatively clean.

Total cost: $2 for the snack buckets.

Total time: 0 minutes

Final verdict: They both worked out great. The toy bucket had its disadvantages and may or may not be making an appearance on the next car trip--which is no where in sight currently. The toy bucket was nice to have around. Once we got to our destination, it was easy to carry in and kept the toys corralled instead of spreading all over the condo.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kid's Car Dining

This wasn't a true pin because I didn't find it on Pinterest, but I totally stole it from Lindsay's facebook picture she posted a while back. She posted a cutie with a perfectly sized and perfectly deep tray in his lap munching down a happy meal. She found hers in the dollar spot at Target but they are no longer. I had to find my own solution because I thought this was just genius.  This was my one splurge in preparing for the car trip because I spent more than I had planned on them.

In the storage section at Target I found some boxes that were just the size and depth I had envisioned. And as a bonus these had lids which I thought would be perfect since we would be in the car. After dining, I could just pop the lids back on and clean them out at the next stop.

I stored them on the floor beneath their seat so they were easy for me to reach and the lids protected them from dirt and grass falling in them. (I had to sticker them with their names so that there was zero chance of fighting over which tray belonged to which boy.)

 This size couldn't have been any more perfect. They fit just in between the edges of the car seat so that they sat on their laps comfortably.
Stored down below for easy access
Once we got to the condo, these were used again. With limited seating options, I served a few meals in these and let the kids park it on the couch. I loved these so much. I may use them around the house for special movie meals in the living room or keep them permanently stashed in the car for meals on the go. They were so good at containing the mess.

Originally I thought they could also use the closed tubs for play/coloring surface, but since they had the cookie sheets, (see Pin 87) they never tried that idea out. However, these were also good for baby mermaid swimming.

Wibby and his red mermaid he picked special for the trip.

Total cost: $10 for two tubs with lids

Total time: 0 minutes.

Final verdict: Loved having these in the car. They contained the eating mess from their laps and then the lids contained the leftovers until we could stop to clean up. Thanks for making me a better traveler, Lindsey! I always knew you were a smart mom.

Pin 87

We just got home from our beach vacation so the next few posts will all be pins we did on our trip.

Original Pin:


This blogger suggested to place magnetic strips on the back of puzzles to do in the car on a cookie sheet.

I didn't do the magnets but I did do the puzzles and the cookie sheet. I picked up a dollar store cookie sheet and a dollar store puzzle for big L. He loves doing puzzles and this was actually the first thing he pulled out once we hit the road. Since it had a lip on the edge, I thought it would still work for the car despite the magnetics.

Our dream was shot down pretty quickly when he discovered that the puzzle was too big for the cookie sheet. Bummer. Guess we should have checked that one out before we left.

However, the cookie sheets did come in handy for the car ride. I had picked up two (because you can't just have one item and two boys) and they were awesome for coloring book surfaces and baby mermaid swimming while we were in the car. On the return trip, I used one for my lunch platter. They were great noise makers, too, when the boys were really getting antsy and bored. That's when I snatched them and stashed them under the seat (which, by the way, they are super easy to store since they are so thin.)

Total time: 0 min

Total cost: $3 because we had to have two cookie sheets.

Final verdict: They didn't work out for the puzzle this time. Maybe next time we will make sure to check the finished size of the puzzle first. But they did come in really handy for the long car ride. These will probably make it to future car rides.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Beach time!

We took a little trip down to Galveston Beach this week so I won't be posting any projects while we are here, but don't worry. I've been Pinteresting the whole time so I'll have some great stuff to show you when we get back! See you soon.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pin 86

Original pin:
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When I pinned this image, I never thought it would get so much attention. To date, it has over 450 repins and over 75 likes. I don't claim to exactly understand how Pinterest works in such a way that this many people have been able to see this, but I still think it is pretty cool.

When I pinned this I was focused mainly on the shelves. I have been working on my living room decor for months. On one long wall I have been wanting to put a shelf forever but wasn't sure how it would look. This picture gave me the courage to go ahead and do it.

I liked the white shelf. I liked the floating shelf (without the visible brackets). When I went to the hardware store, the white shelves I found were not in great condition and looked kind of cheap. The floating shelves were all short. So I settled for a long, bracketed shelf. I wasn't sure I loved it at first (but don't tell my husband), but it has totally grown on me now. So, to asmallsnippet, thanks for giving me the courage to do it.
Total time: 45 minutes. It takes a long time to hang a shelf with two crazy kids running around and stealing your tools, okay??

Total cost: $22, much cheaper than I had thought.

Final verdict: While my living room is still a work in progress, I am happy with two walls now.

Pin 85

Original pin:
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This toothpaste trick promised to fix the dvd's and cd's that were scratched and skipping.

Since L got his first stack of CD's many, many years ago I have never let him have the original. I always burn him a copy so that if it was scratched or broken then I could just burn him another copy. I continued that practice when W came along. L has always been very particular about taking care of his stuff so it was never really a problem. W, however, could care less about being cautious and his CD's last about a week before they start skipping.

When W woke up from his nap today he was asking to listen to a Laurie Berkner CD that is so sadly damaged I don't think a single song could play all the way through. He just kept shaking his head and saying, "It's skippy," before I even put it in the player.

We happened to have the secret ingredient already in the bathroom--the kid's Crest.
I scrubbed it up, cleaned it off, and popped it in the CD player. W was ecstatic to hear his songs playing. Uh oh. Song 4 started skipping. And so did a few others after that. It was improved dramatically, but not perfect. I decided to give this one a double treatment. After the second time, it worked perfectly and played without a skip. Awesome trick.

Total cost:$0 (If you are looking for kid's Crest, I buy it at the dollar store regularly $1 for a medium sized tube or Target has had a travel tube packed with a toothbrush for $1 in the travel bins since Christmas)

Total time:5 minutes

Final verdict: I will definitely be using this trick again and again and again. It worked fantastically. I think my father would be appalled if I told him I scrubbed a CD with toothpaste. He taught me to respect CD's more than that. Sorry Pops.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pin 84

Original pin:
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My husband was in awe when he realized I was making these. Every time the phone rang he kept saying to the other person, "Guess what she's making now? No, Cheese-its. No, really. Is there anything she can't do?"

Mine did not turn out as pretty as hers. Tasty--yes, pretty--no. My cheese didn't incorporate well so you could still see all the individual little shreds. When they baked up my crackers looked like they had little zits where the cheese bubbled. Also, even though I thought I had rolled them thin enough, I guess I hadn't. The bottoms were cracker-y but the tops were bread-y. Soft, warm, cheesy bread that was delicious. The last batch I baked which was the scraps smashed back together was actually the best batch. By this point, the cheese was well incorporated and the dough was room temperature and easier to work with. The taste was spot-on for the real thing. Even if my texture was off, I could taste the familiar cracker in there. With the too thick cracker, it was like having two treats. We started separating the crunchy bottom from the bready top and eating them apart. Crunchy cheesy cracker--treat one. Second bite, soft, ooey gooey cheesy bread--treat two.

I will make these again because I was just too close to the real thing not to try again. Next time I will mix with my hands to incorporate everything. This time I used my mixer because it seemed easy and that is what the original poster used in her pictures. Then, I will let the dough warm a little before rolling out, although if the ingredients are better mixed this may not be necessary. Thirdly, I may flip them halfway through baking so they can get crispy crunchy on both sides.

My pimply crackers.
Total cost: $1.79 for cheese

Total time: 1 hour 15 min

Final verdict: Round two is coming. Amazed at how they taste just like the real thing. Despite my texture being off, everyone in the house ate them AND thought they were awesome.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pin 83

Original pin:
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Back on Pin 60 I mentioned that I had to buy a rather pricey tub of powdered milk. I used a small quantity for the cheese making and was looking for some more recipes that called for powdered milk. My friend suggested these no-bake breakfast bars.

I have actually made them a few times now but I keep eating them before I can take a picture. They are seriously that good. This is a Weight Watchers recipe, but probably only because they try to make it 6 servings. I could literally eat the entire recipe in one sitting. Peanut butter is one of my all time favorite foods and these are basically glued together with the stuff.

Speaking of glue--making these is an ooey-gooey mess. The first time I made them I forgot to take my rings off and when I was done I had to get out my little jewelry brush to knock all the peanut butter out of the settings. I found that shaping them in to the "sticks," as the directions call for, was nearly impossible. It was so sticky on my hands and the portion size is small that my sticks looked like ugly little logs. I made them into cookie shapes the first time. After that I decided to use some wax paper to assist in the shaping. I dumped all the ingredients on one side of a sheet of was paper and folded the other side over. Then I shaped it through the wax paper and opened it up and cut it into many bite sized pieces. That way I can just take a bite every time I walk by.

Total cost: $0--everything was already in the pantry.

Total time: 5 minutes

Final verdict: Well, considering I had to make this multiple times in order to remember to take a picture, I would say its a winner. It is a great mix of sweet, ooey gooey, and crunchy all together. It would NEVER fill me up as a breakfast bar, but as a treat it is awesome. It is way better for you than grabbing a peanut butter cookie and I can feed it to my kiddos and tell them its a cookie without feeling guilty for loading them up with sugar. I will probably keep making these at least until my gigantic tub of powdered milk is gone.

Pin 82

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Sponge balls for kid water fun! Martha Stewart called them summer's Snow Balls.

True to my nature, I totally didn't read the instructions before diving into this one. The picture says it all, right? It says enough. When I went back and did read the instructions they are very, very technical. I wouldn't have followed them anyway :)

I picked up a package of 10 sponges at the dollar store. During the boys nap time I made these anticipating some water fun this afternoon. I did not measure the cuts. I started with cutting a sponge into four strips width-wise. Four tied together was not quite enough, but five was perfect. Then I tried some length-wise cuts. I put six lengthwise strips together for the longer ones. In the end, the 10 sponges made five small sponge balls and two large ones.

When the boys woke up, they immediately saw these sitting out and were ready to go splash. We went to the back yard and turned on our slip & slide and had a good splashy time. The boys had so much fun with these. They were soft enough that they didn't hurt when you got pegged with one. Although they really preferred me to be their target, they didn't mind pegging each other either. We played all out splash war then we put W in the swing and let L try to get him while I pushed him and dodged errant sponge balls. We played fill the bucket by soaking them in the slip and slide water then running over to the bucket to squeeze the water out. I didn't think W would understand this concept but he surprised me and totally got it.

A bonus tip: The small ones were just about the size of a baseball. When they were soaked, they had some weight to them. After watching L try to peg his brother on the swing over and over, and actually hitting his target a few times, a little light bulb went off. Excellent T-Ball drill to practice throwing!

Total cost: $1

Total time: 20 minutes

Final verdict: Awesome water fun. I think the boys had more fun with these than ANY store bought toy we have ever had.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Pin 81

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White strawberry sangria that promised to knock my socks off!

Our neighbor invited us over for an evening of swimming and grilling this weekend. I thought this was the perfect excuse to try this one out! I worked Saturday night and this was easy to put together in the afternoon when I got up.

The first taste for me was very, very, rum-y. The recipe called for 16 oz of soda but after that first taste I went ahead and put in two full cans--a total of 24 oz of soda. After that it was perfect. It was very tasty for sipping by the pool on a hot afternoon. I don't really think you can mess up sangria. I just adjust the ingredients as I go along to suit my taste.

And it was beautiful too!!

Extreme close up of the beautiful fruit!
Total cost: $15 for the pitcher. You could adjust that based on what kind of wine you use.

Total time: 10 minutes to prepare. 4 hours to chill.

Final verdict: This was a strong drink! It knocked my socks off AND made me forget where I left them!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Pin 80

Firstly, let me say that I never expected the boys getting out of school to slow down my crafting soo much! Just finding time to go to the store for supplies is a chore! Trying to pick up the pace now. . .

Original pin:

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I decided to work on this little project this week at knitting/crochet circle. Since we installed our new floors we have been doing a lot of "Swiffering" and we are actually low on cloths. Instead of buying more, I thought this would be awesome. To be able to wash and reuse these puppies sounds fantastic.

This was my first visit to the circle. I learned that I can't talk and knit at the same time without making mistakes. I am not a pro knitter. I decided mistakes were fine since this was going to be used on the floor and just plowed through the project, mistakes and all.

Not the prettiest swiffer cover
I finished this in one day and tested it out. It worked almost as good as those cloths. It had trouble picking up the larger small particles--think cracker bits or thick grass pieces--that sometimes the cloths will pick up. It did great with the dust and, more important, dog hair.

 Only one small snag. I didn't have a measuring tape a knitting circle so when the directions said to knit until it was four inches wide, I just had to guess. I was a little off.

Total cost: $3.99 for a skein of yarn that is probably enough to make 5 of these.

Total time: Four hours

Final verdict: Ugliest project ever! But who cares? Its for cleaning the floor and it worked good enough to keep me from running out to buy more covers. You could even dampen this and use it as a damp mop. I am already working on number two--which will be measured :)