I made several of those type scarves this year for presents- I found a really good idea on Knitty Gritty (it was a knitting show on tv)- I never saw the real show, but I found it online. If you do a Google search for Knitty Gritty you will find that scarf in the videos that run on the homepage. Basically you knit for 4 inches, then bind off the middle stitches, knit across the rest of the row and then when you get to the middle stitches again, you cast them back on. It is easier if you see the video!
I did mine with like size 13 needles and fun fur type yarn. They are short and the big needles and fuzzy yarn make them fun and quick!
As for a good project after scarves, I am not really sure. I went from scarves to knitting mini stockings, but since it is almost Christmas you might want something less Christmassy - I'm not sure. After I get my last scarf done, I want to make a hat!