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!


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mini Garden Tools

In a world divided by so many issues like politics and religion, I think we can all agree on one thing: tiny stuff is freakin' adorable. Babies. Puppies. Kittens. Tiny versions of big things are 100% cuter. It's science.

That said, these tiny garden tools have stolen my heart.

A friend at work recently asked me what I knew about fairy gardens. I knew they existed, but I've really only recently learned to keep plants alive for longer than a week. I have a VERY limited experience base, but as mentioned earlier, anything in miniature means I'm all in. Also, a while ago polymer clay was on sale at the craft store and I thought to myself "I've never used this and have no plans for needing it but it's on sale so I better buy one of every color." Because that's how responsible adults shop. This then became a quest to use the polymer clay for the first time AND make something tiny. Win-win.

You will need:

White polymer clay
Clay tools intended for children (because after buying all the unnecessary clay, why invest in reasonable quality tools?)  
Paint or nail polish or your choice, brown and silver used here
Black Sharpie
Black string or embroidery floss

The first step is to work the clay. Depending on what kind you have, it might take a while. I used a tiny bit at a time and worked in another chunk when the first was pliable. If your clay is super crumbly or stubborn, you can use a tiny bit of Vaseline on your fingers to help. When the clay is easy to mold and smooth, take a piece about the size of your finger tip and shape it into a rectangle.

To make both the trowel and the rake, start by very gently rolling the top half of the rectangle between your fingers to shape the handle. Use the rounded tool to create a dent at the end of the handle. For the trowel, continue to roll the rounded edge until the desired thickness is reached then trim the ends to shape. For the rake, use a cutting tool to remove tiny slivers from the flat end and create the prongs. Use a pointed tool or toothpick to create a small hole in the handle ends.

The watering can is a bit trickier. I started with 3 different sized pieces, 1 about the size of a gum ball, another the size of a lima bean, and the other was somewhere in between the others. The lima bean piece was flattened into a thin circle about an inch across. The biggest piece was rolled into a cylinder shape and then slowly, carefully hollowed in the center using the rounded tool and my thumb. This piece goes on top of the former lima bean piece. Lastly, use the medium size piece to create the spout, handle, and hood: a skinny tube for the spout with ball flattened on one side and dabbled, another short tube for the handle, and a flat semi-circle for the hood. The pictures should hopefully help all this make more sense.

The pieces all stuck to themselves well with nothing but light pressure applied before baking. I used a toothpick with a small clay "pedestal" to prop up the spout and make sure it didn't get droopy before it baked. Put all your tools on a piece of foil and follow package instructions to bake your clay. Fimo required 30 minutes at 230 degrees.

Once they're cooled they're ready to paint! I used an acrylic brown which went on very streaky and gave an accidental wood grain appearance that I love. Finding a silver was a little more challenging. The perfect thing was hiding in the form of metallic silver nail polish which has exactly the galvanized look I was hoping for.

One the paint dries, use a sharpie to add bands around the handles and nail details on the watering can. Lastly, add a short piece of black embroidery thread to create straps on the tools and you're done. Add them to any indoor plant to create a mini garden all your own. And marvel in their tiny, adorableness. 

Would you add this fun touch of whimsy? How would you personalize them? What other tiny things should we make? I'd love to know!


Friday, May 9, 2014

Weekend Inspiration: Lavender

I go home today! I'm so excited! This week has been much quieter after the craziness of the past week. The big event last Saturday went off without a hitch and actually set a new record for the number of people participating (#yay #success)! I've had time to pack everything up and prepare for a lovely Mother's Day weekend in Florida with the fam. While packing, I had to be very careful that any products included were scent-free since my Dad is allergic to perfumes and pretty much anything with a fragrance. Mom will occasionally sneak a light candle or hand-sanitizer but that's about the extent of pretty smelly things in the house. Now that I live far away, I've gone a little overboard with fun lotions, sprays, candles, perfumes... ALL the smells.

Do me a favor please and be sure to give your mother something with an extra lovely fragrance to make up for all the pretty scented things my Mom has given up over the years, just don't let her wear it around my Dad ;) One of my plant babies is a lavender plant that I can't wait to see blossom. With both these things in mind, a Weekend Inspiration theme with lavender was the only logical conclusion!

1. Homemade lavender bath salts (the relaxing kind, not the face-eating kind) would be a great way to relax!

2. While you're add it, might as well include some homemade soap.

3. Lavender sugar is definitely for people fancier than myself.

4. A simple dried bundle looks just as good as it smells.

5. Boozy lavender lemonade. 'Cause you know your Mom deserves a drink.

6. Lavender sachets that cam be used to calm or keep a draw smelling fresh.

7. Ice cream is always a good idea. Especially when it's blueberry-lavender ice cream.

8.  Lavender simple syrup for coffee and tea. Or whatever else you want to use it for. You do you.

Have you tried the lavender flavor and not just the scent before? How do you feel about fragrance? I'd love to know!


Friday, May 2, 2014

Weekend Inspiration: Mother's Day

It's been an insane week preparing for a huge work event. The good news is that because of all the extra time spent at work now, later there will be much, much less. Things will calm down just in time for me to take a quick trip to Florida for Mother's Day. I can't wait to spend the say relaxing and spoiling Mom! Here's a few of my favorite ideas for Mother's Day gifts from around the internet:

1. Can you believe this basket is made from paper flowers? Gorgeous AND long lasting!

2. These sweet topiaries are perfect for a Mom with simple, classic taste.

3. If your family is spread out all over the place, your Mom would loves this bracelet to reflect each person's location.

4. How charming are these mini-birdhouse key holders?

5. A DIY coffee scrub for the Mom who's all about the beauty products... and caffeine.

6. A fold-over clutch can be personalized for any style.

7. This flower monogram would impress any Mom!

8. Sharpie mugs have been around for a little while but would be a simple, customizable treat.

Have you already made or gotten your Mom something? Do you give gifts to other important women in your life on Mother's day? I'd love to know!


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