Friday, July 25, 2014

Weekend Inspiration: Work Spaces

GUESS WHAT?! I got a new computer! Well, new to me. My old laptop has done me very well but at this stage in it's life it was starting to have some issues. I can't fault it. The technical status of this little 2007 MacBook is beyond vintage, beyond antique, straight into dinosaur classification. It's survived many a late night, 20 page paper writing session. It's had coffee spilled on it. It's been thrown from a moving vehicle IKidYouNot. Then it became the platform for everything posted on this little blog and has done quite well keeping up with the task. As much as I love that little machine, it was definitely time for an upgrade and upgrade I did! The new computer is excessively large but since it was a great deal on it-why not? AND that means lots more pictures of higher quality, more ability to edit them and be detail specific... so many possibilities! The only issue is that this monster of a monitor is way out of place at the moment sitting on my craft desk. The space is going to need some revamping and reorganizing to keep up. With this upcoming task in mind, the weekend inspiration is work spaces!

1. These shelves look like a super simple DIY.

2. Am I cool enough to get away with a quote wall?

3. Love me a good lookin' peg board.

4. A little dark for my taste but the idea of using wire hangers to display things is brilliant.

5. Empty cans? Check. Plain board? Check. All set to make this organizing set up!

6. I never would have thought of using a mug tower for something like this. Never.

7. The look of the stacked books to create the desk leg is gorgeous but not too friendly to re-readers. I guess that's the sacrifice made for aesthetics. Sigh.

Another work space challenge is this little one seen here cuddling with her arch nemesis, the giraffe.

She's been great about really chewing or scratching on things or getting into places where she shouldn't, but at the same time I don't want to tempt her by being overly trusting. She is only 4 months old. So finding a layout and system that is functional, inspiring, but not too kitten tempting is the criteria.

Any suggestions for a craft and kitten friendly space? And changes in technology you want to warn me about from 2007 to 2014? I'd love to know! :)


Monday, June 23, 2014

The Skinny (and Smudge!)

It's been a very busy two weeks! I say 2 weeks because that's how long it's been since I've posted... Sorry... A few big things happened though and I'd love to fill you in.

First, on Friday the 6th I went to an Etsy craft party at Due South Coffee hosted by Jessica of TinOiseux  and Brooke of Juxtaposition. These two lovely ladies know how to throw a craft party! I had so much fun meeting other crafty people and making a personalized Sharpie mug.

Next, I randomly picked the USA out of a bag as my World Cup team in the office contest. And we beat Ghana! I have never cared so much as about any sport as much as this World Cup. That last second goal by Portugal on Sunday almost gave me an aneurysm.

After that, we headed to Atlanta for the National Conference of Volunteering and Service. Y'all. It was inspiring, exhilarating, educational, and most definitely exhausting. It was WAY bigger than anticipated. My favorite session was a "fireside" chat with women with several women with highly successful careers discussing the lessons they've learned and mistakes they've made. It was incredible. I fangirled shamelessly.

Lastly, and most excitingly, I GOT A KITTEN. Her name is Smudge and she's 2.4 pounds of sweetness. A bit skittish, more than a little silly, but definitely the sweetest. Her favorite place to cuddle is on face. It's cool. I've already gone a little crazy with toy buying but the next step is obviously toy-making. I'll be the first to admit I haven't historically been a cat person but Smudge really picked me, and who am I to argue with that face? When I was at the Humane Society for another event I just happened to look in on the animals available. All the other kittens were going nuts from the excitement of the dogs and people outside. All except a little puff butt in the corner cage facing away. She looked over her kitten shoulder at me, got up, and walked over to lay down as close to me as possible. My heart melted and I knew if she was still there after I got back from the conference in Atlanta that it was meant to be.

What I didn't expect to happen is that I was actually really worried she wasn't going to be there when I got back. I called the Humane Society multiple times to check. I didn't even go home first when I got back into town, I went right there and picked her up. Now we've had a nice long weekend of quality time to play and bond. #BFFL

That's it! Lots of new things but all good. Now we're up to speed and ready for the next round of fun, creative posts. Who are you routing for in the World Cup? Any advice for this first time kitten mom? I'd love to know!


Monday, June 2, 2014

Hanging Herb Garden (The Unexpectedly Challenging One)

Last week we talked about 2 different pretty simple hanging planters. Now it's time to up the anti and bring on the macrame. Are you ready for this? *stretches arms in preparation*

When I worked with children back in the day, one little girl came in with a handful of twisted cord determined to make a bracelet like the ones the big kids made in art class at school. All she remembered from the older kid who was trying to teach her were the terms "snake" "lizard" and "tunnel." Filling in the gaps, I figured she must be talking about macrame. Soon all the kids wanted to learn how. The idea of teaching a bunch of boys and girls how to play with yarn was essentially a dream come true. The snake/lizard method was by far the easiest to understand.

That's the primary idea. The lizard will always go under the tunnel and over the snake and the snake will always be opposite of that. If you alternate which reptile goes under and over, then the knots will begin to twist. It's actually pretty cool if you're doing a long project but with just a few knots it looks messy. Just a tip, it's easier to tighten the snake and lizard if you hold the tunnel tightly. Once you've got the basic knot down, you're ready to move on to the planter.

6 Strand Hanging Planter

You will Need:

Small Pot filled with the sun-craving plants of your choice
6 pieces Nylon rope, 72" each
1" Steel welded O-ring (can be bought individually in store for 80 cents)
Lighter (optional)

I chose these pots from Lowe's for a few reasons: cheap, adorable, colorful, self-watering, light weight, annnnd immediately available.

The O-ring should be centered on the strands and secured with a pretzel knot.  Separate the strands into 3 groups of 4 strands. 8" down from the O-ring, you'll add 4 macrame knots into each group. 2" or 3" down from the macrame knots, tie a pretzel knot between the macrame groups using just the outside strands (the center picture). Gather all your strands together. You'll notice that the strands that were the "tunnels" in the macrame knots are a bit longer than all the others. A few inches  below your pretzel knots, grab one strand from each of the tunnel groups and pull them to the side. Those pieces are now your snakes and lizards to make a large set of macrame knots at the bottom of the holder. Knot to your desired length (mine is about 10 knots long) and then tie it off by wrapping all the strands in a pretzel knot. Pull each strand tightly, trim edges to desired length, and finish off with a quick pass of your lighter to keep the ends from fraying.

As mentioned in the previous posts, I wanted my hanging planters short so they wouldn't take up too much space on the patio. If you need longer ones, start with rope pieces longer than 72".

This one might take a little practice, but I think it might be my favorite. What do you think? Have you made one yet? I'd love to know!


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hanging Herb Garden (The Ever-So-Slightly More Complicated One)

Remember that time when I promised to publish a series of tutorials on plant hangers? 'Cause that promise was just made yesterday. I'll be referring to it a bit in this post so you might want to check it out first. This planter was the biggest of the three but only took a few more minutes that the first. Lowes only had 2 of the small pots in colors I liked so I got the next size up in this lovely blue. This time there are 5 strands were cut to 108" each. B-t-dubbs, all 3 of these were made with one bag of nylon rope that was 100' total.

You will need:

Small Pot filled with the sun-craving plants of your choice
5 pieces Nylon rope, 108" each
1" Steel welded O-ring (can be bought individually in store for 80 cents)
Lighter (optional)

I chose these pots from Lowe's for a few reasons. As mentioned in the previous post they are cheap, adorable, colorful, self-watering, light weight, and perhaps most importantly they were available exactly when I wanted them.

5 Strand Hanging Planter

Start off by twisting 2 pieces around each other, like hair, for the top 10"-12". Keep that in place by looping the rope at the bottom of the twist and pulling the ends tightly (pretzel knot is still relevant!). 6" down from the first know split the strands of the pairs that were twisted together and pretzel knot them to their immediate neighbors. 4" from that second round of knots, you'll make another set of knots tying the strands back with their original partners. It's basically an on-again-off-again relationship like we've all seen before. 3" down, finish it all with a tight pretzel knot. You can see the whole thing a little spread out in the last picture if that helps for comparison.

I can already tell the sun is making a big difference. The picture below was taken less than a week after hanging the plants. Good thing the mint is in the big pot!

The good news is that the next planter (the one with the pink pot) involves more exciting things than just pretzel knots. The bad news is it's a bit more complicated. If you already know a few macrame knots, you're golden. If not, get ready for more of my made up terms that shouldn't be used in front of people who know what they're doing.

Are you growing any herbs? Anyone want to come over for mojitos? ;) I'd love to know!


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hanging Herb Garden (The Easiest One)

Things have pretty temperate here in Greenville lately. Not too hot or rainy and just a little breezy. The long sunny days have encouraged keeping the curtains open as much as possible to let in the natural light. I noticed something that made me a little nervous: the sun was never reaching my herb plants. Obviously, that led to an instant panic that the plant babies were going to die any minute from a lack of sun. Something had to be done.

Macrame and I are old friends going back to the days of summer camp and friendship bracelets. I've seen all kinds of hanging planters on the interwebs and decided it shouldn't be too hard to combine the old skill and the "new" trend. I've been pleased with the outcome since the herbs seem to be much happier and the colorful hanging pots are more fun to see. Because each hanger involves so many steps, I'm splitting them into 3 posts to keep them from getting overwhelming. This first one using 4 strands took about 10 minutes to make.

You will need:

Small Pot filled with the sun-craving plants of your choice
4 pieces Nylon rope, 72" each
1" Steel welded O-ring (can be bought individually in store for 80 cents)
Lighter (optional)

I chose these pots from Lowe's for a few reasons. 1, they were adorable and cheap (that alone would be enough honestly). Second, they were light-weight plastic so they wouldn't weight down the rope or the hooks too much and the sun shouldn't be too drying or damaging. These pots are also "self-watering" which means the pots don't drain on the patio below and it should help protect them from drying out with the dramatic increase in sun. Lastly, I was already there and didn't feel like shopping around anymore. So there's that.

4 Strand Hanging Planter

It was originally hard to see the detail in the pictures with the white rope so I used different colored yarn instead. Also, there were no rings left so I used the ring from a plastic bottle. Because I'm classy.

The first step is to gather all the strands and feed them through the ring. Once the ring is at the center of the strands, you'll tie what I like to call a "pretzel knot." Warning: do not use that term in front of people who know what they are doing/care about technical terms or they will laugh at you. The pretzel knot is the only one you'll use for this whole planter. Just cross the strands over each other and pull through the center. It helps to pull each individual strand as tightly as possible after tightening up towards the ring.

There's now 8 strands that are a little less than 36 " long. About 10" down, tie pretzel knots in pairs. 5" from there tie pretzel knots again, being sure to split the strands that were just tied together and join them with their immediate neighbors (see why the colors made this so much easier to explain?). Lastly, 3" down tie another pretzel knot using all strands and tighten. Finish it off by trimming the ends and using your lighter to melt the tips to keep the rope from unraveling. That's it! Seriously, 10 minutes tops.

The planter is pretty short. Finished it's only about 20" long, which was perfect for what I wanted but you may want to make your ropes longer that 72" to start with if you're looking for something more. They're so quick to make you can experiment. Keep an eye out this week if you're interested in the others which will be titled "The Ever-So-Slightly More Complicated One", and then "The Unexpectedly Challenging One."

Do you think macrame hangers are back in style? Do you know the real name for the pretzel knot? I'd love to know!

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