Tag Archives: DIY

Knotted Bracelet

Knotted braceletSome days it seems silly in the middle of whatever else I have going on to stop and do some sort of small craft or make a slightly more difficult meal. But sometimes it’s just what I need. Sometimes that small craft is a small win for my sanity. This bracelet was just that. I was struggling with making the itty bitty ring I posted a while back. So, I put it aside and started working on this bracelet.

The supplies came in my January For the Makers box. It was originally supposed to be a necklace, but I don’t wear necklaces as much as other jewelry. Although this kit was purchased for me, the supplies could easily be purchased on their own.

Knotted Bracelet DIYTo make this piece, I watched this video on how to create a double figure 8 knot. Then I placed the cord connectors on both ends and placed a bead in the middle of each. I tightened the connectors with pliers to ensure the bead wouldn’t come loose. Finally I finished it off by placing  super glue in each end cap and pressing the rope into the cap. Let dry and you’re finished.

Knots can be so pretty, don’t you think?

Here’s to easy projects and easy wins. Sometimes we need ‘em.

love,
melanie

12 Ways to Save Money on Gardening Supplies

12 Ways to Save money on gardening suppliesThere’s some debate online about whether or not gardening actually saves money. It’s a risk. I get that. Some ravenous bug could eat your entire crop of heirloom tomatoes. A hurricane could blow through without leaving a single pea pod in it’s wake. (How rude!) But there’s also potential savings. One article I found claimed that the author and his family produced $2,149.15 worth of produce in their home garden!

I’m super lucky that I don’t have to rely on my own agricultural endeavors to survive. I don’t know how profitable my first garden will be, but I’m saving on supplies in order to increase my potential profits.

Here’s how I’m saving on supplies for my garden.

  1. Containers or raised beds – I’m using containers and raised beds to save on soil costs and conserve water.
  2. Supplies for raised beds – To save money on creating raised beds, my plan is to use old barn wood. The barn wood is untreated and my beds will be shabby chic for sure.
  3. Gardening tools – I will be borrowing most of my gardening tools. If there happens to be a time when I can’t borrow what I need, I’m going to purchase my tools via Craigslist or yard sales. No need to buy new gardening tools, they’re just going to get dirty anyway!
  4. Compost – I must admit, composting is going to be difficult for me. I didn’t come from a family that composts and I love the thrill of throwing something away. So weird, I know. It’s a habit and I’ll just have to get into the habit of composting.
  5. Plant pricer produce & produce you use often – I use more bell peppers and onions than the average gal, so I’m planning on planting those. I won’t be planting eggplant because George hates it. I’m also considering planting something like habanero peppers because those little suckers can be pricey and after they’re canned, they make a great gift.
  6. Grow plants that can produce all season – Tomatoes are a great example of a plant that can produce all season. Plants that produce all season (or most of the season) invariably produce more yield. Look at me, sounding all expertish.
  7. DIY insecticide – There’s so many natural home remedies for garden insecticides. Did you know you can control aphids with a few drops of dish soap diluted in water? I had no idea.
  8. Rainwater barrel – I’m still not 100% sold on a rainwater barrel. We actually have well water so water costs isn’t too much of an issue. And I’m hesitant to place anything that can be a breeding ground for mosquitos near my home. But I’ve been reading about organic mosquito prevention methods and I’m warming up to the idea. Maybe I can make a DIY rainwater barrel?!
  9. Plant seeds for a higher return on investment – Pre-sprouted plants are more expensive than seeds. Instead, I’m going to try to sprout my own plants in old egg containers!
  10. Plant produce in stages – This is one of the smartest tips I’ve found in my research. Plant seeds or starter plants in stages over the course of several weeks. This has several advantages– it allows you to harvest in stages and consume the produce over time. If there is a freak frost it also may save your produce that has not yet been planted.
  11. Try the farmers’ market for starter plants – Your local farmers’ market may sell newborn plants at a discounted rate. I know my farmers’ market does! If my sprout-it-yourself method doesn’t work out, this is my back up plan.
  12. Share seeds – To cut cost, I’m befriending some fellow gardeners to share seeds. I’m also trying to convince some of my black-thumb friends to garden with me. Saving money and making friends– this should be a special on Saturday morning PBS.

How have you saved money on gardening supplies? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

 

Itty Bitty Ring

Gold RingsThroughout this photo shoot, George kept reminding me that my hands looked like claws. I have no future as a hand model. I clamp everything with a death grip and getting just one ladylike photo out of this shoot was painful. I also never get manicures because I pick off all my nail polish. One chip and it’s over. My hands will be polish free in an hour. Death grips and compulsive polish picking. I am a gem.

Ok, so I’m not really a gem, but this ring is! I created this ring with my second For The Makers kit. For the Makers is a DIY subscription service that sends small (girly) projects to your door each month. You can read about my past experiences with For the Makers here.

Handmade ringIt definitely wasn’t the easiest excursion into jewelry making. Tying the elastic for this ring was down right difficult. Almost as difficult as making my hands look elegant.

The kit can be bought here and the directions are free on their website.

What subscription services of you love? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

 

 

Chunky Knit Scarf and Tips for Working with Homespun Yarn

lion brand homespun yarn scarf foldedLast time I was at home, my mom was admiring my knit capelet. Ok, so maybe she wasn’t admiring it so much as I was making her model it for me. I mean, she’s my mom, she has to be proud of my work, right? I was being an extremely annoying daughter that day and after I made her model for me, I drug her away from her J.C. Penny couponing to go to Hobby Lobby. It’s right across the street! She picked out some yarn so I could make something for her and man, oh man, my mom paid me back for annoying her. She somehow managed to pick out the most difficult yarn in the store to work with– this Lion Homespun Yarn.

lion brand homespun yarn scarfIt’s a really pretty, textured yarn, but man, was it a pain in my tuchas. I found very few tips for working with this yarn online, so I’m sharing with you all what helped me to actually create something with the Lion Brand Homespun Yarn.

1. Work with needles larger than the ones recommended on the package. I ended up using size 19 needles after knitting a giant twisted ball of nothing on smaller needles.

2. Knit with two strands of yarn at the same time. The yarn is naturally twisty, so it twisted onto the other strand of yarn instead of onto itself. This will also make a chunkier knit.

3. Keep going. I abandoned this project several times because after I cast on it looked like a big ol’ mess. Only after I knitted the first few rows, could I see the scarf come together.

homespun yarn scarfI cast on 13 times for this scarf and in the end it turned out to be the perfect size for a chunky knit scarf.

Man, I wish I had this advice weeks ago! Have you ever had adventures with Lion Brand Homespun Yarn? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

Twine Knit Kitchen Scrubbie

twine scrubbieI use S.O.S. scrubbies like they are going out of style. I love how they get all the gunk off my cast iron pans, but I don’t love that I use them once or twice and they’re done. It’s such a waste of money and so not environmentally-friendly. I’ve seen people knit with twine and I knew that the roughness of twine would make the perfect DIY scrubbie.

Airstream SinkTo make the twine scrubbie all you need is some knitting needles and twine. I used size 15 needles, but you could go with smaller needles if you want a tighter knit. I cast on 5 times and created 6 rows. The scrubbie will end up the size of a kitchen sponge.

I love the way the knit scrubbie looks and it’s a nice little money saver. It almost makes me want to do dishes. Almost.

love,
melanie

How to Make a Rustic Photo Backdrop

backdrop boxBlogs are mostly smoke and mirrors.  You’ll see this gorgeous shot of a houseplant or a DIY project, but what you won’t see is the 10 pounds of clutter hiding in the corner– just outside the shot.

Today I’m going to show you how to make a rustic photo backdrop and to hide your 10 pounds of clutter– for a photo, at least.  A backdrop could be simply made from a white sheet, but I wanted something that had a little more texture. Old barn wood did just the trick. If you don’t have old wood lying around, that’s ok. You could make this from new wood, or you could prematurely age the wood.

Supplies
6, 1×6 pieces of barnwood approximately 2 feet long
1, 8 ft. 1×4
16, 1 1/4 inch drywall screws
Circular Saw
Drill
Paint Brush
Flat White Latex Interior Paint

1. Take the 1×4 and cut it into 4, 18 inch pieces.
2. Lay two 1x4s flat on the ground in an “L” shape allowing them to lay on top of each other in the corner of the “L”. (See the below photo of the box in the photo for reference.) Use the electric drill and two screws to attach them together.

backdropbox1
3. Repeat step 2 with the two remaining 1×4′s.
4. Hold one of the “L” frames vertically and place three of the barn wood pieces on top of the bottom of the “L” to check for fitment of the pieces. make sure the “L” frame is square to the end of the barn wood. Drill one screw through each piece of the barn wood and into the base of the “L” frame. It helps to have a partner hold the “L” while drilling.
5. Repeat step 4 on the opposite end of the base using one screw to attach each barn wood board to the bottom of the other “L”.

backdropbox36. Once the “L’s” are attached to the three barn wood boards that make the base of the box tip the box on it’s back and attach the last three barn wood pieces in the same way as done on the base. This will create the back of the box.

backdropbox4
7. Now that the structure of the box is complete, use flat white latex paint and your brush to paint the surfaces that will be visible in the photographs. I did some test painting on the back of the box with a couple different washes of white and a light gray but decided to go with two coats of the flat white for my final finish.
8. Allow the paint to dry. Once dry, you have a beautiful, rustic backdrop to photograph.

You can see the backdrop in action below!

Canned Biscuit Doughnuts with Powdered Sugar

Special thanks to my husband. He is a constant behind the scenes helper and I love him for it.

love,
melanie

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gifts

I, just like every human on earth, am guilty of waiting until the last minute to do things. There’s  something about that last minute pressure that really puts the heat on. This year I actually purchased George‘s Valentine’s Day present early and had it shipped to the house. And he opened it before I got home! It was an honest mistake, but I was so mad! I can’t ever surprise that dude. Anyway, now I’m rushing to make something small to give him so he actually has something to open tomorrow.

Here’s a couple ideas for those last minute Valentine’s Day gifts:

rp_Nuts-about-you-1024x616.jpgThis Valentine’s Day printable is super-cute. You don’t even have to make the nuts recipe if you don’t have time. You can just attach it to a bag of nuts! Click here for the printable.

how to make vanilla extractIf you’ve got a honey that loves to cook, homemade vanilla extract would be a great gift. Maybe they’ll get the hint to make you those cookies you’ve been wanting. Click here for the how to.

infused liquorsInfused liquors are so easy to make and instantly elevate a drink. I’d let the liquor infuse for a few days, but it’s a gift that you both could enjoy this weekend. Click here for the tutorial.

gifts for male teachersIf your darling isn’t a drinker, then a personalized mug filled with coffee or chocolates would make a cute gift. Just make sure you don’t put it in the dishwasher! Click here for the details.

Here’s to homemade Valentine’s gifts! And waiting until the last minute!

love,
melanie