This past fall Nate sold his house (with a yard and a garden) and bought a downtown condo. While I miss being able to use his yard for my gardening purposes, he’s really loving the downtown life and the fact that he doesn’t have a yard to mow.
My apartment doesn’t have any outdoor space, so I’ve decided to make the most of his 5′ x 10′ balcony. I’ll post more on the balcony garden later. Today I’m excited about the plant markers I finished this past weekend.
I’m always pinning cute markers that I think I could make myself, but never get around to making them.
I usually draw a few pictures to remind myself where things are planted, and by the time things start coming up I can usually tell what’s what. Since this garden is on a balcony rather than tucked in the back corner of a yard I’m trying to keep things looking clean and organized. I’m probably a ways from the balcony being magazine worthy or anything like that, but the markers really help to unify everything.
While some of the example I pinned are pretty fantastic I decided to keep my investment low and the style simple. Here are the ones I made and how I made them.
Black and Gold Homemade Garden Markers
Craft sticks from Dollar Tree (I used wide ones)
Black paint (I already had some cheap chalkboard paint from Michael’s on hand)
Foam brush (also had on hand)
Gold (or whatever color you’d like) permanent marker (I found mine in the dollar section at Target a while back, but I think a sharpie style marker would be great)
Paint two coats of paint on each side of the craft stick also paint the edges. When they’re dry go crazy labeling them for all your plants. One note about your permanent marker. I tried several different paint pens and even a white grease pencil, but finally settled on my gold pen because it wasn’t too liquidy (which caused the paint to run in the groves of the wood) and had a fine enough point to look nice (I’d read some good things about the grease pencil, but decided against it in the end because the point was unreliable).
Now there’s no telling how well these will hold up outside, but I’m ok with that considering I spent $1 (even if I’d had to buy everything I still would’ve been under $5). I’ll report back at the end of the summer, but I also suspect someone in a traditional garden may experience more wear and tear on their markers than I will on a balcony.
I attended a baby shower this past weekend, and the couple isn’t finding out what they’re having. I discovered that it’s kind of hard to find cute gender neutral baby fabric. When I make the taggies I like to buy the quilted fabrics because they end up looking really nice without too much work. I was fully prepared to make my own mini quilt, but luckily I found this cute animal print and brown set that hopefully is neutral enough.
She registered for some nice little bins, so I cheated on the wrapping.
My super talented friend Elyse asked me late last summer if I would be interested in putting a bunch of their t-shirts together into a comfy blanket. I was hesitant at first, but she convinced me that they didn’t want anything too fancy and that I could take my time with it. I finished it all up last week (seven months to the day), and I love how it turned out! I kind of wanted to keep it for myself!
T-shirt Quilt/Blanket tips and what I did:
- Iron interfacing to the back of each shirt square. It takes some extra time, but is very helpful when sewing on the really thin shirts.
- I used fleece for the back of the quilt, and I didn’t use any batting or extra layers of fabric on the inside. Elyse wanted it to be pretty lightweight (like a throw), and I would say it’s borderline heavyweight with the fleece alone.
- After getting the quilt sewed together I added a stitch (see the detailed pictures above) around the entire outside edge of the quilt. It really gives the quilt a finished look since I didn’t use any binding.
- I “quilted” down the seam of each column. The stitch is in the ditch, so unless you look really closely you don’t even notice it on the front. This holds the front and back securely together.
- My steps for the front were: wash and iron shirts, outline a square that I want to cut, trim shirts a bit bigger than the square, iron interfacing to the back of each shirt, trim down to my outline, arrange squares in a good layout, sew squares together in rows, sew rows together.
When I delivered the finished blanket Elyse’s husband Ryan said, “Oh I’ve been looking for that shirt, and that one!” (Elyse reminded him that he’d okayed all the shirts included in the quilt.) After a weekend of spring weather it’s turned cold again today, so hopefully they’re enjoying their re-purposed shirts!
I love washi tape. I bought a roll of it when I was in Japan thinking it was really cute tape and I could use it to tape up a box to ship home. After trying to tape a box closed I thought man that’s some crappy tape! Now I know what washi tape is and I keep kicking myself for not buying more when I was in Japan, but back then I don’t think any of us Americans knew what it was!
I’ve been wanting to buy some rolls for a while now, but they’re so dang expensive and I’m cheap. Wandering around Target last month though I stumbled across Up & Up brand Paper Tape which is essentially the same thing (although I’ve heard not acid free). The best part about the Target Washi Tape is that it’s $4 for 4 rolls! They have a red/pink pack, an orange/yellow pack, a green/turquoise pack, and a blue/purple pack. I thought they were so fantastic that I bought a few packs and gifted some friends with a roll each. I’ve also been using them to fancy up Christmas and birthday gift wrapping.
As I write this it’s the beginning of September, however I’m going to have to wait until Christmas time to post this because it concerns Christmas presents. I love the Christmas season, and for quite a few years now I’ve been making gifts for friends, family, and co-workers. My rules are the gift ends up being fairly low cost and I make it. Among other things I’ve made jars of granola, little clutches, pies in jars, and my mom’s wheat bread.
This year some friends and family will be getting sets of these little hair ties. Anthropologie sells sets of 5 for $12, but they are super cheap and easy to make. I think they look much cuter on your wrist than regular hair ties too.
Fancy Hair Ties
Fold over elastic (I bought mine from www.hobovian.com, but you can find it all over Etsy under fold over elastic or FOE)
1. Cut the elastic into strips around 9″ long (5 yards will make you 20 hair ties).
2. Fold in half with the shiny side out and knot the end. Try and get the knot pretty close to the end of the elastic and pull it tight.
3. Run a flame over the cut ends of the elastic to prevent fraying.