How To Make Mittens Out Of An Old Sweater

How To Make Mittens Out Of An Old Sweater

When my husband shrank one of my cashmere sweaters, I decided to use an old sweater mitten pattern to breathe new life into an item of clothing I would otherwise have to discard.

 

During winters on our homestead, the winds can get pretty chilly, particularly from the North, and a good, sturdy set of mittens can mean the difference between a miserable time filling water buckets and being able to complete tasks without freezing fingers.

 

While gazing at this ruined sweater, I remembered an old sweater mitten pattern I had used in my childhood, and decided now was a good to put it to use.

 

Looking for a free sweater mittens pattern? Here's a free DIY sweater mittens pattern you can use to upcycle old sweaters!

 

The pale blue sweater itself was in good condition, there were no holes or stains, so it would have been a shame to just toss it.

 

Winter was settling in, and since I needed new gloves anyway (and you can’t get much warmer than cashmere!), I settled on making new mittens.

 

Since I love reusing items I might otherwise toss, I was happy to try making myself a new item of clothing. I’m always game for saving a bit of money, too!

 

Making yourself new gloves using this old-timey sweater mitten pattern is easy. As my husband puts it, you just “draw a turkey and sew it together.”

 

Here are more specific instructions to help you out!

 

Repurpose old sweaters into mittens with this pattern!

 

Trace Your Hands Using a Marker

To make life easy on myself, I chose to make mittens with the sweater, rather than gloves with individual fingers. Although I’m sure eventually I will tackle gloves with fingers, I needed mittens quickly since I had to fill water buckets in whipping 30-mile per hour winds!

 

Tracing the shape of my hands on the sweater was easy enough, and since the marker would be on the inside of the finished product, I didn’t worry too much about using a marker that would dissolve in the wash.

 

Repurpose old sweaters into mittens with this pattern!

 

When tracing my hand, I left about a ½-inch of extra space between my hand and the line drawn with the marker. This ensured that when I sewed the mittens, there would still be enough room for my hands, and the mittens wouldn’t be too tight.

 

This is particularly an issue for your thumb, since it will end in a tighter space than the rest of your hand. I suggest leaving a good ½-inch or ¾-inch space to give your thumb a comfortable amount of space.

 

Here’s a little pro tip:

 

For these gloves, I chose to make the opening of the glove commence at the manufacturer’s hem of the sweater. That way, I could prevent the mittens from unraveling. It just seemed easier.

 

I repeated “drawing the turkey” four times, so I ended up with a front and back for each mitten. I’m right handed, so of course, the left pieces were more precise than the right, but this dilemma is easily resolved if you can get help with tracing your hands.

Sewing the Mittens

To stitch the mitten pieces together, I first mocked up a mitten by pinning two pieces together, making sure to line up the ends as closely as possible.

 

Pinning them together also made it easier to stitch later, and I made sure to line up the tops of the mittens, figuring if the opening of the gloves was uneven, then I could always just sew a hem.

 

When you’re mocking up your mittens, remember to keep the marker lines on the outside, so they will be hidden when you invert the gloves after sewing them.

 

I also made the gloves a little longer so they could cover more of my arm during the cold weather. This has kept drafts out of my sleeves during the windstorms that plague our farm during the winter.

 

To actually sew the mittens, I used a blanket stitch to ensure the mittens would stay intact as I worked around the farm.

 

Repurpose old sweaters into mittens with this pattern!

 

This type of stitch also allows the thread to expand without breaking, I’ve found, and the mittens don’t let in any cold air through the seams, so I know this type of stitch is doing its job.

 

Once the stitching is finished, just turn the gloves right side out, and they’re ready to wear!

 

I chose to hand sew the mittens because the project was fairly simple, but you can probably save a bit of time by using a sewing machine.

 

I kept the mittens the same pale blue color the original sweater was, but if I want to, in the future, I might dye them, especially since, thanks to the pale color, they’re starting to look a little dirty.

 

Goldenrod and onion skins are two natural dyes for wool I might consider testing out in the future.

 

Using this sweater mitten pattern, not only was I able to save some money and reuse a ruined sweater, but I was also able to provide myself with a new item of clothing to keep me warm!<!– Default Statcounter code for
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5 Vintage Farmhouse Kitchen Decor Ideas You Need For Your Kitchen

5 Vintage Farmhouse Kitchen Decor Ideas You Need For Your Kitchen

I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for farmhouse home décor. 

 

So each week I’m going to share some of my favorite farmhouse décor ideas with you that I find!

 

This week I found so many cute decorations that would be perfect for a family/friend gathering! From canisters, to cake trays, to bar stools, this weeks farmhouse décor ideas will make you next gathering at your home the perfect event!

 

Vintage Scale

Can’t you just see your grandmother weighing out her flour on this beauty? Adding a vintage scale will give your kitchen farmhouse charm AND be useful! Found here: GET THIS VINTAGE SCALE

French Stripe Table Linens

Add charming French country cottage decor to your farmstead kitchen with these striped table linens. Linen is easy to care for, and should last a lifetime & just get softer as the years go on. Get it here:  FRENCH STRIPED TABLE LINENS

Rustic Wooden Bread Board

I know my ancestors used something like this, and now you can too. You can use it as decor (it would also look GREAT in a coop – painted up as a sign) or use it in your kitchen. Very versatile! GET IT HERE

Tall Galvanized Canister Set

These are meant as decorative pieces, although I can’t see why they can’t hold flour, sugar, and anything else you need for baking! Neutral colors that’ll blend into any kitchen. GET THEM HERE

Fluted Cake Plates

PERFECT for parties to show off that cake or pie you made. Everyone will want a slice! You can also leave these on your counter top with fruit or your daily bread displayed for even more rustic appeal. GET THEM HERE

 

Do you love these farmhouse kitchen décor ideas? Which one is your favorite?

How To Keep Outside Cats Warm In The Winter

How To Keep Outside Cats Warm In The Winter

As temperatures continue to drop on the farm, I’ve gotten more worried about our cat, Boss, who is an indoor/outdoor kitty. So, I’ve been researching how to keep outside cats warm in the winter so I can make sure he’s around for years.

 

Boss is one of our mousers, and in addition to being a pet, he has an important job around the farm – keeping the winter grain safe and mice out of our home.

 

square foot gardening plant spacing

 

It would be a huge loss to lose him (if I had my way, Mr. Outside Cat would stay indoors all the time, but he insists on being an indoor/outdoor cat, and prefers to pee outside.)

 

If you don’t know, we got Boss when he showed up in one of our back rooms during a tornado. We heard this little mewing, and realized there was a kitten where there shouldn’t have been one.

 

He trotted out, sat on our couch, and has lived here ever since. (And that’s why he’s named Boss).

 

Although cats are resilient animals and adapt well to different types of weather, they’re still living beings. So, if you’re looking to help your feline stay warm when it’s snowing, you’ll love these “best practices” about how to keep outside cats warm in the winter.

 

Build a shelter to keep outside cats warm in the winter

The first thing to do is to build a winter cat shelter for outdoor cats since we want to decrease the risk of them catching hypothermia in the winter.

 

An outdoor kitty shelter gives them a warm place out of the wind to rest, protects them from drafts, and helps keep them safe and dry. You can either purchase a cat house in pet stores, use wood you have sitting around (making sure the final structure isn’t drafty), or use Rubbermaid bins (this is an option for a winter home but it’s not the best).

 

Or, you can get creative and turn a chicken tractor like this into a cat shelter.

 

Keep in mind that large shelters are not always the best idea since heat disperses quickly if there is extra space left. A cat house large enough for two to three cats to huddle would be great (you probably won’t find more than one kitty in an outside cat house, but that’s the appropriate size).

 

Add bedding

One of the most important “how to keep outside cats warm in the winter” tips is to add bedding to the shelter. If you are already building your cats a home to keep them warm, you might as well provide their house with some bedding, too, and it will help them retain heat.

 

Just be sure the bedding is easy to remove and clean (and maybe have extras on hand). Some ideas for bedding for outdoor cats are old blankets or clothes, or a washable self-warming fleece cat bed.

 

Straw is also an excellent insulator (we use it to create structures and as a windbreak for our hogs and rabbits, since it’s easily stacked.) I would personally use straw over hay since hay absorbs more moisture and will mold faster.

 

Lining the interior of the outdoor cat house with old clothing or newspapers will also act as an extra wind break.

 

Want ideas about how to keep outside cats warm in the winter? Here's how to care for outdoor cats in winter, build an outdoor cat shelter, and other outdoor cats care ideas.

Increase food rations

Something else we do with every creature on our farm is increase their feed during the winter. They’ll have more energy to burn so they can stay warm. Raw meat is one option, and you can’t go wrong with a high-quality commercial cat food.

 

Use a feed produced in the USA to ensure it’s actually food and not just filler. Because cats have different dietary needs than dogs and other pets, I personally rely on commercial feed for our indoor/outdoor kitties.

 

We found dry food is better than moist food or raw food since liquids and raw meat freeze easily during winter.

 

While we don’t do this, as I researched how to keep outside cats warm in the winter, I noticed that some pet owners use thermo feed bowls to make sure their cat’s moist food is warm when served.

 

You can also use heating pads to keep the food warm as long as possible. However, if you want to save energy, then you’ll have to replace their bowls with food or water a few times throughout the day in winter.

 

Also be sure to provide water; we keep our cat shelters close to the house, so we’re able to use a heated waterer. If your outside cat house will be off-grid, you can use these ideas to keep water from freezing.

 

square foot gardening plant spacing

Other winter hazards

Hypothermia and lack of food aren’t the only hazards your outside cats will face. While we don’t get a lot of snow here, in more Northern climates, your outdoor cats might get trapped in the snow, mistake something toxic for food, get hit by a car, snagged by a predator.

 

While this hasn’t yet happened on our farm (touch wood), there’s always a chance that your cat will ingest antifreeze. It sounds kind of out there, but antifreeze smells sweet to cats, and some try to taste test it. Keep that stuff bottled up and out of their reach.

 

Speaking of cars, everybody knows (and hears horror stories about) cats love staying inside engines to warm them through the night. They’ll also crawl inside tractors and combines. So, for the love of all things holy, check your cars, tractors, combines, etc before starting them.

 

While I would prefer Boss stay inside and safe and warm, he prefers to be an outside cat. If you’re in the same situation, and wondering how to keep outside cats warm in the winter, hopefully some of these ideas well help you out.

 

square foot gardening plant spacing

How To Install A Wood Stove For Beginners

Ever since we moved to our farm, learning how to install a wood stove has been on the bucket list.

 

It’s not just that a wood stove screams homesteading, but it’s also about saving money, using the resources around us (we have 5 acres of woods), and, frankly, not buying propane for our central heat system and dealing with the upkeep of said system just so we can stay warm.

 

square foot gardening plant spacing

 

Our first year on the farm, we actually did use propane to heat the house. And it was about $500 a month. And ever since, I’ve refused to use it because, honestly, I think that’s highway robbery.

 

So, enter the idea to use wood. In this article, I’m going to show you how to install a wood stove.

 

This is just the way we did it – you might read about other ways to install a wood stove on the Internet, and that’s fine. Definitely do your research! This is an easy decision to make, but also a big one.

Wondering how to install a wood stove hearth? If you're thinking of getting a wood stove fireplace, and aren't sure if it's for you (or whether a wood stove surround is a good idea), then read this wood stove ideas guide!

 

So, here’s a quick breakdown of the steps to install a cast iron wood stove in your house:

  1. Decide on a model to buy
  2. Get a chimney kit, if needed
  3. Decide on a location to install it
  4. Build a fire-safe base
  5. Install the wood stove and chimney kit
  6. Use chimney braces, if needed
  7. Seal the interior chimney pipe so they don’t leak smoke

 

So, let’s look at each of these steps.

 

square foot gardening plant spacing

Decide on which wood stove you’ll buy

This isn’t a light decision, and you should make it carefully. After a lot of research and talking to people, I decided on this model.

 

Honestly, I was overwhelmed by all the options (you can buy stoves from $300 to $3,000 and everywhere in between) and I had no idea which was best.

 

I ended up asking a friend I trusted about the model they bought and whether they liked it and whether it was easy to install (she purchased hers a few years ago and it’s still going strong), and just ended up buying that exact model.

 

Why reinvent the wheel, right?

 

Something to consider, though, is the size of the area you want to heat. I installed my wood stove inside my 12×24 cabin; as it turns out, the wood stove I bought was WELL equipped to heat a larger space (1,800 square feet to be exact, and the cabin is quite a bit smaller than that).

 

While I don’t regret my choice at all, now that I have more experience and I’m less overwhelmed, I might have looked for a smaller model.

Wondering how to install a wood stove hearth? If you're thinking of getting a wood stove fireplace, and aren't sure if it's for you (or whether a wood stove surround is a good idea), then read this wood stove ideas guide!

 

Something else to consider is the price. By all means, stick to your budget. But don’t cheap out on this purchase.

 

If your cast iron stove is well made, you will likely never have to replace it. You can’t beat that investment.

 

So, high quality means you will never have to figure out how to install a wood stove again, and it will likely have more design, safety features, and sufficient draw than a lower-quality purchase.

 

We noticed with our stove, that it had all kinds of safety features, including a way to deprive the fire of oxygen if it got too strong.

 

That’s good for us, since my husband has burnt down the barn in the past (that’s a LOOOOOONG story. Well, not really long, but an annoying story, so we’ll save it for another time).

 

We purchased our wood stove new, but if you can find a high-quality used one (maybe from a relative who upgraded and you’ve seen their old stove working), then by all means, go grab it.

 

I would be a little concerned about stoves purchased from yard sales or flea markets; you don’t know what you’re necessarily getting into, and might waste a lot of time and money.

 

square foot gardening plant spacing

Do you need a chimney kit or a kit to customize your chimney?

Most wood stove chimneys are designed to go through the roof of your home, and that’s how most people install them.

 

We weren’t going to cut a hole in the ceiling of our cabin for a variety of reasons, so we decided to install a wood stove through the window.

Wondering how to install a wood stove hearth? If you're thinking of getting a wood stove fireplace, and aren't sure if it's for you (or whether a wood stove surround is a good idea), then read this wood stove ideas guide!

It saved us the effort, expense, and inevitable heartache (lest we make a drilling mistake – a likely occurrence on this farm) of drilling through the roof.

 

Additionally, not all wood stoves come with chimneys, so you might need to buy a kit. The best thing to do is consult the manual of the stove you end up buying.


And be aware that the cost to install a wood stove isn’t just the stove itself – the chimney kit will cost you as well. However, like the wood stove, don’t skimp on this expense.

 

To run the chimney through the window, we needed a 90 degree elbow and a chimney pipe that had 2 layers so it didn’t get so hot.

 

We were able to find both at a local big box store, and knew what to buy thanks to the manual that came with our stove.

square foot gardening plant spacing

Decide where you’ll install your wood stove

In our case, I knew right away where I wanted to install our stove. In a small cabin, there’s only so much space!

 

But here’s some things we DID take into consideration: We have 2 small children, so we wanted it to be in a place where we could easily build a barrier to keep the kids away from the flames.

 

Similarly, we wanted it to be in a place where we didn’t have pets (our cats live in the house) so they didn’t accidentally burn themselves or the cabin down.

 

We decided that the wood stove would be the focal point of the room, and then we would design the rest of the cabin around it. So, we installed it in a location that made sense from a design standpoint and where there was enough space away from everything else so any chances of a fire were reduced.

 

The only caveat to installing it through the window is we lost the lower half of the window and a certain amount of light. So, we will need to decide how to recover the natural light in the cabin.

 

Build a base

After you’ve chosen a wood stove and decided where you’ll put it, you need to build a base. The point of the base is to provide a fire-safe structure for your stove to stand on.

 

In our case, we used cement board, tile, and mortar to install the wood stove. We started by screwing the cement board to the floor (if memory serves, it was 5 feet by 4 feet), then laying the tile on top.

 

It was easy and took about an hour to complete. There wasn’t enough tile to cover all of the cement board; I’m going to go back and find some easy to install tiles (read: no cutting involved) to cover the rest of the cement board.

 

Before continuing, we allowed the tile to dry for 48 hours. When dry, put the stove on the base and prepare to install it permanently.

 

square foot gardening plant spacing

Install the chimney kit

Installing the chimney kit wasn’t hard, but it’s one of those projects that takes a bit of brain power.

 

We had to find something to support the chimney through the window. Wood wouldn’t work because we wanted to eliminate the chance of a fire.

 

So we used a spare piece of tin. You can probably find kits online, but we had tin laying around, so why not use it?

 

Install the chimney kit according to the directions that come with your kit.

 

In our case, we had to also use a chimney brace. We have very strong winds in our area, and things that aren’t nailed down, will likely go bye-bye in 70 mph winds (I remember one time I bought a shed kit for my grain, only to find it scattered in pieces the next day because a tornado came through – worst $300 I ever spent).

 

Wondering how to install a wood stove hearth? If you're thinking of getting a wood stove fireplace, and aren't sure if it's for you (or whether a wood stove surround is a good idea), then read this wood stove ideas guide!

 

So brace that sucker unless you want to buy a new one.

 

Seal the chimney pipes so they don’t cause smoke in the house

Finally, we sealed the interior portions of the chimney kit so they didn’t leak smoke (found that one out the hard way – no big deal, except it might cause carbon monoxide poisoning.)

 

We used a stove sealant like this one. Allow it to dry before lighting the fire.

 

Wondering how to install a wood stove hearth? If you're thinking of getting a wood stove fireplace, and aren't sure if it's for you (or whether a wood stove surround is a good idea), then read this wood stove ideas guide!

 

That’s it – now we’ve figured out how to install a wood stove, and we can be toasty warm all winter. Hope this guide helps you out!

 

square foot gardening plant spacing

DIY Refurbished Nightstand You Can Make For $14

DIY Refurbished Nightstand You Can Make For $14

My friends, we’re stretching our wings here and, boy, do we have some treats in store for you. You’re going to love how easy it is for you to replicate this super stylish DIY refurbished nightstand.

 

Say what? Since when do we talk about DIY projects on this website?

 

Well, here’s the thing.

 

With every coop comes a farmhouse….and those farmhouses need furniture.

 

So, we have a killer series for you, where you’ll learn all it takes to refurbish, build, and design your way to top of the flock in your neighborhood.

 

In other words, we have a new designer series brought especially to our little flock by our new style expert, Emily King.

 

Today, you’re going to get her favorite way to create a DIY refurbished nightstand out of an old – but still serviceable  – piece of furniture hanging around her home.

 

And by the end, you’ll be clucking for joy at how gorgeous your home looks.

 

Oh, and it only cost $14 to make an old piece of furniture look new again. Can’t beat that.

 

 

Need a cool weekend project? Try this easy DIY refurbished nightstand idea!

a Nightstand is Born.

 

When I decided it was time to redecorate my bedroom the first thing on my list of things to get was a new nightstand.

 

Problem was, I hate spending money. Well, I just hate to spend it on things that aren’t totally necessary.

 

Thrifty me (some might call it cheap! haha) just couldn’t bear to think about giving away my perfectly good nightstand.

 

Did I mention that a half-decent new one costs at least $100 bucks or more!? Ouch.

That, my friend, is where this DIY project begins…
I knew the brown colour had to go, so spray paint was a must. In addition, to give my rinky-dinky table a little bit more ‘oomph’, adding some moulding was also a must.
Lucky for me, my parents had some moulding leftover that I could use.
Okay, let’s get started!

Materials Needed:

  • An ugly table 
  • Spray paint 
  • Moulding 
  • One glass knob 
 

Step 1: Using a mitre saw, measure and cut the moulding.

Please use caution operating a mitre saw, safety first folks! 

Step 2: Paint the moulding and table.


I used Rust-oleum’s Painters’ Touch. Follow the instructions on the back of your paint can and remember that 2-3 lighter coats are better than one heavy coat (one heavy coat will be blotchy and uneven).

 

Spray paint is super quick to dry so for those impatient people out there (like myself) just give it 20-30 minutes and you are good to go for your second coat. 

 

**TIP**: Make sure to use the spray paint in a well-ventilated area. I am telling you this from experience! I think my lungs were black for about 24 hours…lesson learned. 

Step 3: Drill a hole for the hardware of your choice. 

Using a ruler measure where the center is and eyeball how high/low you want to place your knob.

 

Step 4: Nail Moulding to Table.

 
I used a brad nailer for this step, but if you don’t have one the ol’ hammer will do the trick. (Maat: I’d like to add that you’ll want to use finishing nails so they’ll blend and not be obvious.)
Make sure to fill in the holes with nail filler – I used the brand Red Devil – One Time.
If you don’t have any filler on hand (or don’t want to go buy some), you could get away with not using it. 
 

Step 5: Give your table one final light coat of spray paint. Let dry. 

Do this step outside so you don’t breathe in those fumes.

 

Step 6: Screw on your hardware. 

Need a cool weekend project? Try this easy DIY refurbished nightstand idea!

 

TA DA! My first DIY project complete! I was super pleased with the result and of course I was thrilled that it didn’t burn a big hole in my wallet. 

Cost breakdown…

  • Baseboard moulding = FREE (my parents had some left over)
  • Table = FREE (well, I bought it years ago)
  • Spray paint = $5.00
  • Glass pull = $9.00 (a high price I know, but I just really liked it!)

 


Total Cost = $14.00

Well folks, that’s it for my first ever blog post. Feel free to post any questions or comments, I’d love to hear some feedback.

Bye for now,

Emily Grace