Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Baby Blanket Preview and DIY Fitness Tracker Accessories

Are turtlenecks even remotely in style right now? I wore a big, chunky, knitted, turtleneck sweater to work today, because Missouri weather has finally broken me. We keep getting these almost-warm, sunny weekends, followed by dismal, damp, cold weekdays. I’ve lived here my whole life, and I will never get used to the torture that is late winter and early spring in Missouri. So because my springy outfit left me goosebumped and grumpy yesterday, I broke down and wore a turtleneck, corduroy pants, and wool socks today. The weather won’t stay warm, but I will feel warm, even if it means getting teased by teenagers. I'm used to that anyway.

So, in between compulsively checking the weather forecast and hissing at the sky out my window from under the cover of a down blanket, I’ve been working on my latest baby blanket project. I’ll make another post about this one once it’s finished, but here’s a preview.

Moss Stitch Baby Blanket

I used the directions for this adorable animal alphabet afghan. It's a departure from the plain, single stitch blankets I've been making without a lot of added effort. For each row, just alternate a half double crochet and a slip stitch. Easy peasy. It's turning out really nice. I haven't decided on a border yet, or whether I'll add any embellishments.

But crocheting isn't all I've been working on lately.

DIY Misfit Accessories

I think I've mentioned before that I'm hoping to get into better shape this year. I will write next week's post about my reasons for wanting to exercise more and how I plan to go about that in a healthy, sustainable, and self-loving way. But today I want to share with you one of the steps I've taken toward that goal, and also to share how I'm making it more fun for myself. 

It has taken me a long time to get onto the fitness tracker bandwagon. I see the value in it, and I really enjoyed the episode of the podcast "To The Best of Our Knowledge" called "The Quantified Self", which talks about personal tracking and how it can improve our lives. But I'm a cheapskate, so it took me a while.

I did have a Fitbit Zip that Joe got through work, but it was prone to (and eventually succumbed to) cat shenanigans. Hobbit once stole it off of the nightstand, and we found it in the living room the next morning with 400 steps on it. Alas, the Zip's next feline encounter proved to be fatal. One night, Adele knocked everything off of the nightstand and into the trash can. By the time I realized the Zip was missing, it had long since been taken to the dumpster.

Anyway, that's a very long and cat-heavy way to say that I was without a fitness tracker until recently. My school district started a wellness program with a daily step goal. The district offered to reimburse us up to $25 to purchase a tracker. If you've bought a Fitbit, you know that's not really much help. So I bought a cheaper tracker, the Misfit Flash. It was actually on special from Amazon Prime for $20, so with the reimbursement, it was free! 

Since I've only had it for a day, I'll wait until later to give it a complete review. But what I can share is what I'm doing to make it more fun to wear. Right now, it looks like this:

Not hideous, but also pretty conspicuous and athletic-looking. I saw some of the accessories for the Misfit Shine, a more expensive model, and I got a hankering to make a few DIY accessories of my own. 

I looked all over the place for tutorials to DIY some Misfit accessories, and I couldn't find any. Really! I even looked on the second and third page of Google results! Etsy has some cute handmade options, but as I said before, I'm a penny pincher. I was left with no choice but to come up with my own projects.

For my first attempt, I was inspired by this pretty locket-style necklace for the Misfit Shine. My Flash isn't compatible with it, which is fine, because I'm not about to spend $80 on one. 

Instead, I found this empty locket in the jewelry section at Joann Fabric & Crafts for $3.99 (not including my teacher discount - woot woot!).

No idea what kind of metal this is.
Maybe I'll end up with a giant green circle on my chest from wearing it!
It doesn't fit perfectly, so I had to wrap the necklace chain through the loops twice to get it to stay closed. This way I can wear it when I need to look fancy. Which isn't very frequently, if I'm being honest. But at least I have options. I'll bet the Misfit Shine will fit even better in one of these, so let's call this the absolute easiest way to save $86 on wearable tech accessories. You're welcome.

Note the less-than-perfect fit. Then remember how much money you're saving.

I warned you about the turtleneck. Sexy, no?

Here's my next project: I saw this ribbon bracelet, meant to make the Misfit more comfortable to wear while sleeping, and I decided that I could for-sure create something similar with my sewing machine. I'm planning to cut up an old workout shirt for this job. I'll post the project with pictures and a tutorial next week, along with my review of the Misfit Flash. Let's hope my cats haven't eaten it before then!

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