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At Home Hobbies: Knitting

It may seem like an old lady’s hobby, but knitting has come into its own as a hobby for all ages and genders. Head over to Etsy and you will see the amount of knit products and knitters promoting their wares on the site. Search for knitting on Google and you get 396 million results!

So you can say that knitting isn’t just an old person’s past time anymore. But how do you get started? It may seem complicated, but once you get the hang of it it becomes second nature. You can knit while watching TV, talking, or doing other things.

Knitting is also a great hobby to get into because you don’t need a huge investment. Unlike something like leather working, woodworking, car restoration, hunting, fishing, which all need lots of expensive equipment, knitting just requires the needles and yarn.

You may be wondering, what about crochet? Well crochet uses a hook and yarn, while knitting uses a needle and yarn. They’re similar in that you’re manipulating yarn. While many people will ask which technique is best for certain projects, it’s really up to your own preference.

Knitting Help offers tons of free videos for beginners to get started with knitting. Using videos is the best way to learn (besides having someone show you). Using a book is helpful, but it may not be as descriptive as you’d like. This tutorial from Lion Brand shows you almost everything you need to know about kitting from casting on to casting off to picking up stitches and duplicating. And here’s another guide on picking the right yarn for your project.

There are different types of stitches to learn:

Purl Stitch

Knit Stitch

Seed/Moss Stitch

Once you figure out the basic stitches you can start looking for tutorials to try out. Don’t get frustrated if your first few attempts end up with some mistakes! You’re just starting out so it’s definitely ok to mess up. Don’t get too ahead of yourself when picking out a tutorial. You’re probably not ready to knit a whole scarf just yet. But if you feel prepared, then jump right in!

Here are some free knitting patterns to try out:

monster knit

Knit Monsters – Craftyiscool.blogspot.sk

fingerless

Fingerless Gloves – Helloglo.co

coffee cozy.jpg

Coffee Cozy – Thesittingtree.net

 

 

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How to Stay Safe in the Sun

pexels-photo-46710

It’s important for us all to consider sun safety, especially living in Southwest Florida. It is even more important for the young and older generations to be concerned about this. As we age, our skin becomes less and less robust, thereby becoming fragile and in need of extra care. If you are older, you have probably noticed that small bumps into the table lead to bruises. Whereas somebody younger likely doesn’t see this effect.

If you plan to head out into the sun, please take these precautions to stay safe!

Clothing
I know it’s hot out there by the beach, or out gardening, or going for a walk. But it’s important to ensure your clothing will protect your skin. Clothing is the best way to protect, as it can shield you from UV rays. Dry shirts are better than wet, darker colors are better than light. If you can, wear long sleeves and long pants, or a skirt, for maximum protection. If this is too much, wear a t-shirt or cover up.

Shade
If you plan to sit out at the beach, bring an umbrella, or seek a shady spot. The shade will not keep you completely protected, so you also need to have the proper clothes and sunscreen.

Sunscreen
Now that you have your shady spot, and some protective clothes, it’s time to lather on the sunscreen. Your sunscreen should be at least SPF 15. Even if it is cloudy, those rays can still get through to your skin. If you plan to be outside a few hours, you will need to reapply the sunscreen for maximum effect. It may also be good to find a lip balm with at least SPF 15 to protect your lips as well. Don’t forget any part of your skin, like the tops of your feet, areas around the bathing suit, neck, ears.
EPA- Sunscreen Facts

Hat
Many of us can forget to protect our heads during a day out in the sun. And not many of us want to put sunscreen on our scalps, which can get in our hair. Hats are a great way to shield your head, and neck and provide shade to your face. Try not to get a straw hat, as the holes will allow the sun’s rays to get through.

Sunglasses
You may think you can see just fine without them, but they’re important for protecting your eyes against UV rays. They also help reduce the risk of cataracts. Find sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays.

Take the Sun Safety IQ quiz from the American Cancer Society to see how sun-safe you are.


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Vegetable Gardening 101

Gardening is an excellent hobby for people of all ages. Everyone young and old delights in seeing their seeds grow to something beautiful (or edible). Not everyone is born with a green thumb, so it may take a few tries to see your seedling sprout and thrive. Don’t worry if your first few attempts don’t turn out quit right, gardening is a wait,water, and see game.

When deciding what to plant first, it’s a good idea to do a little research. You want to check out the type of soil you will be working with, your climate and region, the time of year, and what plants will work best in all of these conditions.

Lucky for you, there are a few vegetables that are quite easy to grow including lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, radishes, and zucchini. There are tons of resources to help you find the perfect first vegetable to try growing. The University of Florida has an excellent Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide to help you plan, plant, tend, and harvest. They also have a helpful chart for the best growing seasons for each region of Florida and notes on each vegetable.

Things to Consider Before Gardening

  • Gardening site: Will it have adequate lighting and water?
  • How is the soil?
  • How much fertilizer do you need?
  • Do you want to use pesticides?
  • Learn how to use pesticides wisely

Not only is gardening a fun way to pass the time, it’s also a great way to maintain your health and fitness, and even increase your real estate value! Some estimates say that landscaping can increase your home value by as much as 8-15%.

This Vegetable Growing Cheat Sheet from Food Beast is another great place to get started with your vegetable gardening. It shows you the best vegetables for a whole garden or just one single pot. It also charts out the best planting and harvesting months for different vegetables, their spacing, common pests, pot size, germination, days to maturation, and more.

veggie cheat sheet

 

Tools for Gardening

Now that you have your favorite vegetables ready for planting, it’s time to grab your gear. Of course you need the basics like a trowel and gloves, but you will also want some trimming sheers, a hand rake, and watering can. For bigger projects you will need a large shovel, and rake.

In addition to the tools you will require pesticides if you plan to use them, or the correct organic matter to help grow your veggies. Also grab the proper fertilizer and soil.

This article from Greatist can help you run through the basics of gardening before you dive in. Once you know what you’re getting into, then jump in and start growing! You’ll love eating what you grow and wonder why you never gardened before this.