DIY Paper Bag Planters

I’m into the ‘paper bag’ planter trend. I picked up a roll of kraft paper and a roll of clear contact paper from the hardware store. I simply cut a rectangle of the kraft paper and stuck the same sized rectangle of contact paper on top of the kraft paper. Apparently, contact paper isn’t as sticky as I thought it would be. As long as the inside is covered and the seams are reinforced with lots of glue and tape, the bag should be fine. 

Next, I folded the two-ply paper into a bag, with the contact paper on the inside. To make it look cute as frick, I crumpled the bag. The end.

DIY ‘Til I Die 

My desk is a mess this week and I don’t mind. When I get home after a crazy day at work, I find myself furiously crafting until I fall asleep, to keep my mind off of how incapable I am at my life in general. That was the circumstance every night this week.

On Monday I received the 360 yards of macrame cord that I ordered in the mail. From Pinterest, I  got the idea to use two brass hoops as a base for a wall hanging, and I came up with a design that I actually really like. On Tuesday I flat out copied Elsie Goodwin’s (@reformfibers) owl macrame wall hanging, except mine definitely didn’t cost $110 to make. I’ve followed Reform Fibers for a while now, and I’ve always wanted to recreate her owl wall hanging. I made almost an exact duplicate, all by studying the design and figuring out the pattern myself. If I can figure it out, anyone can. On Wednesday I made a more refined version of the owl, using a big stick I found outside as a base. I really like how it turned out compared to Tuesday’s prototype owl. Of course mine doesn’t look as nice as Reform Fibers’, but Elsie is obviously a pro and I’m a noob.

On Thursday I spent an hour watching Peter Sheeler on Youtube. He’s a watercolor artist and is ridiculously good at the line and wash technique. I want to be able to sketch something with a permanent pen as confidently as Peter Sheeler, but there is just no way. I can’t even draw a two dimensional building. I’m working on it.

On Friday night I started making two loaves of jalapeño cheddar bread. I baked them 15 hours later, and here we are. I need real hobbies.

O Christmas Plant, O Christmas Plant…

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I am very grateful to have co-workers this holiday season because that means I’m employed. To show my appreciation to the people I tricked into hiring me (just kidding, I worked really hard for my job), I wanted to gift them with something that lasts longer than peppermint bark or fruitcake.

Succulents require specific conditions to grow properly. They photosynthesize via Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM), where the stomata are open at night for carbon fixation, and closed during the day to prevent water loss while they release carbon dioxide for the Calvin cycle. It’s been a while since I’ve been in school, I can’t explain the Calvin cycle if I tried. Anyway, that’s why succulents are so succulent, and that’s how they survive in arid environments.

I bought a pack of twelve 4oz. Ball mason jars, which are typically used for canning jams and preserves. I also bought activated charcoal AKA activated carbon at a local pet store. Activated charcoal provides filtration to soil and also prevents rot. Proper filtration is very necessary when planting succulents in closed containers. Improper drainage = root rot = plant death = gnats. Starting from the bottom to the top, each mason jar is layered accordingly: Small pebbles for drainage, a small layer of activated charcoal for filtration, about 1.5 inches of loosely packed soil with the succulent stem resting inside, and a small layer of pebbles to prevent water from pooling. I chose an assortment of Echeveria and Sedum succulents from my mom’s garden. I hope these little guys last longer than peppermint bark would.

P.S. how cute would these look with a gift tag tied with twine?

Not Your Child’s Crappy Christmas Crafts

I’m a perfectionist when it comes to crafting. Yesterday, I spent 5 hours on a homemade gingerbread house, complete with a bay window breakfast nook, see-through butterscotch windowpanes, and a flickering light inside. I got frustrated at all the tiny details I couldn’t perfect. Maybe I have stubby, clumsy fingers. Anyway, I threw it all in the trash.

These three ornaments don’t require much effort. I also didn’t need to buy any materials because my house is basically a craft studio in disguise.

For the terrarium ornament, I started with a layer of small rocks. Then, I stuffed a small wad of craft moss inside the opening. Lastly, I positioned a miniature flocked Christmas tree inside. If you’re wondering whether clear ornaments are made of glass or plastic, it’s glass. The answer is glass.

For the marbled ornament, I squirted white acrylic paint inside and tilted the ball around until the glass was completely coated. I let the ornament sit upside down in a cup overnight to drain the excess paint. The paint was still wet in the morning, but who cares? Not me.

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To create a marbled effect, I filled a shallow dish with lukewarm water. Then I drizzled OPI Black Onyx nail polish into the water and I swirled it around with a toothpick. Working quickly before the nail polish solidified, I dipped the ornament into the dish. It took a few tries to achieve the optimal marbled look. Thank you nail polish remover.

For the glitter ornament, I simply filled the glass with a ton of Recollections Signature Extra- Fine Glitter in the color “Blaze”. You can’t tell from the picture, but it’s a red-orange glitter with rainbow duochrome specks. Static cling will automatically coat the ornament with a sheer layer of glitter. I dumped the excess glitter back into its container.

Since the marbled ornament is obviously my favorite and deserves special treatment, I used a gold chain to hang it up on the tree. For the terrarium, I used baker’s twine, because it’s whimsical as heck. For the glitter ball, which is definitely the lamest ornament of the three, I used a boring white ribbon.

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Here is my sad attempt at awkwardly displaying the ornaments at the forefront of my tree. These would make great gift toppers, but I think I’m going to keep them.

Rainy Day Macramé

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I bet you thought this would be another blog post about food. Well, I’m a-frayed it’s knot.

For months, I’ve been ooh-ing and ahh-ing at assorted wall hangings that sell for probably $150 at Urban Outfitters (You know which ones I’m talking about). Don’t even get me started about Pinterest! After a couple unimpressive DIY attempts, I wanted to put a little more effort into a quality wall hanging. As of today, I am officially obsessed with macramé. That’s a nicer way of saying I like to tie knots as a hobby.

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For this project I used a 50 yard spool of 3mm macrame cord, wooden beads, and a 5/8″ diameter wooden dowel. I cut the dowel with a steak knife (and sheer might) down to 13 inches in length. The materials totaled to probably about $15 and 7 hours of my rainy Saturday.

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Building the body of the wall hanging took me about 2 hours. I tied double half hitch knots in opposing diagonals, adding beads along the way. The most tedious process was fraying the loose ends. I did not expect that it would take me 5 whole hours to fray the cords. It was a pain in the butt, back, and neck.

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Here is the finished product! I will definitely try more complex patterns and knots for my next macramé project.

Here’s Moose modeling my less-impressive wall hangings.