SMALL SPACE VERTICAL HERB GARDEN

We’ve had container herb gardens in the past at other rental houses, but this year we’ve built a fun little shed in our backyard that has the perfect space for a vertical herb garden. There’s not much sunshine in our mature yard with its 100-year-old walnut trees, so I needed to be smart with how I used my space. Since we’re also putting in a veggie and a dye garden (more on this soon), I decided to go vertical with some herbs. It’s the perfect project for anyone else with a limited amount of yard space, or no yard at all! Also, renter-friendly!

Since this project requires a few more yards of weed barrier than I have room to shoot in my studio, I’m going to show you a miniature version using a not-to-scale, scaled down size. Or, if you’re into dollhouses, a regular size? This will show you all of the steps but will be providing you the correct measurements in the instructions below. In the end, you’ll end up with a 2′ x 4′ hanging herb garden and all of the knowledge you need to adjust your measurements in case you need a different size.

Supplies:
–one 3’x50′ roll of weed barrier
-1″ x 2′ copper pipe
-sewing machine
-straight pins
–5′ cotton rope
-scissors
-herbs of your choice
-potting soil

Cut 11 feet from your landscape fabric roll and set the rest aside. Fold it in half lengthwise and add straight pins every 6″ where your two edges meet. It will feel like a lot of fabric to wrestle, so I suggest doing this part on a clean floor.

Stitch down the side with the straight pins so that you leave about 1/4″ of room from the edge. Remove your pins when you’re done. Measure 16″ inches down from one of the short edges of your fabric. Then fold your fabric up to create a pleat that hits at the 8″ mark. In this photo it hits at the 4″ mark. This creates your first of five pockets. Make sure your pleat is evenly folded all the way across and stick a straight pin on either side of the top of the pocket so that it goes through all three layers of fabric. Stick two more straight pins just above the bottom of the pocket so that it goes through all three layers of fabric. You’ll be able to feel this from the top side of the fabric. Remove your ruler and measure 16″ down from the top of the pocket you just made. Fold another pleat up to just under the 8″ mark on your ruler. In this photo it hits around the 4″ mark. Repeat the process of adding straight pins to the top and bottom of this second pocket.

Continue these steps of measuring 16″ down from the top of the previous pocket and folding back up to the 8″ mark until you have 5 pockets or have nearly run out of fabric. Fold the excess fabric under the bottom of your last pocket and pin in place. This image shows two pockets but you should have five.

Carefully place your entire fabric piece under your needle and stitch down one of the long sides from the bottom up to the top. Back stitch where each pocket corner begins and ends for extra support. Then remove your pins and fold or roll the long side in towards the center. Starting from the bottom of your fabric piece again, stitch all the way up the other long side. Back stitch where each pocket corner begins and ends again.

Find the center of your fabric piece and mark that spot with a straight pin or chalk. Place the entire piece of fabric under your sewing machine again. Starting from the bottom again, stitch up the center of your fabric piece. Remove all of your pins. Now you have ten pockets!

Fold the top of your fabric piece to the back side 1/2″ and then again 2″ and pin in place. Stitch on the back so you can follow along the 1/2″ fold. This will create a pocket hem. Slide your copper pipe through your hem. It should be about 1″ wider than your new plant hanger on each side. Cut your rope and slide it through your copper pipe. Tie a knot and hide the knot inside the pipe.

If you’d like to make a shorter and wider panel, measure about 8′ of liner but don’t fold it vertically. Instead, fold it in half so that the two short ends meet up and give you a double-sided panel that measures 4′ long. Then mark about 20″ down from the fold and then pleat it back up about 6″ and pin. Measure down 12″ from the top of the pleat and back up 6″ and pin again. Do this a third time and then tuck under any remaining fabric. Stitch everything up, add a pocket hem at the fold for your copper pipe, and you’re golden!

Find the perfect spot in your yard or balcony for your new hanging herb garden(s) and add your potting soil and herbs! No one will be mad if you add in a beautiful, flowering plant to compliment all of that green.

Your herb garden will need regular watering. If you live in an especially dry climate, you might try wrapping the root of each plant in coco liner to help retain more water. I made sure to add herbs I know I’ll use to flavor both summer and fall dishes so that I can have fresh herbs all summer and then start drying them once the temperatures turn chilly. Fresh rosemary for grilled chicken and potatoes now, and then dried rosemary for soups and stews this winter! What are the herbs you use most? 

MID-CENTURY PLAY SET

Mid-Century Play Set (click though for full DIY) Hi, friends! As you know I am in full on nesting mode. I’ve become quite good at inventing new projects that are absolutely essential to complete as we are in the waiting period for our adoption. Keeping busy and inspired has been key my key to happiness these past few months!

Today I am excited to share our mid-century modern play set that I designed and Collin built! I wanted to add something to our yard with swings and a slide, but I wanted to do it in a customized way that matched the style of our home. With this project we were able to create a custom play set for the same price (ballpark) as other pre-made sets with a similar size and features. I am SO EXCITED about this project, and I know you are as well because I have NEVER received so many DMs about a project (ever!) as I have this past week after I posted some stories with the playhouse.

Mid-Century Play Set (click though for full DIY)
Mid-Century Play Set (click though for full DIY) For this post we partnered with Ace Hardware. Once we were ready to paint we went to our local Ace and were sure to ask what paint and stains were the best for outdoors, and the team at Ace was really knowledgeable and great to work with! We knew we wanted a bright, sunny yellow and a crisp white that would pop against the natural wood. Based on their recommendation we used their Clark+Kensington Paint and Primer in One collection and the Cabot Clear Wood Protector on this playhouse. It’s so important to make sure each wood piece is painted or stained properly so that the wood will be OK through all the seasons. Also, through July 4th Ace is having a sale on gallons of Clark+Kensington and Valspar exterior and interior paint, so if you have some summer painting projects it’s a great time to go check it out!

In this post we will outline every detail of the cost, tools needed and DIY steps, but if there is anything you are confused about, don’t hesitate to ask us in the comments! But before we get into all the DIY details, I’ll share more about the design!

Mid-Century Play Set (click though for full DIY)I had the vision to make an A-frame playhouse (which we are still doing right “next door” to this one), but midway through the design, I realized that I would love to add something that had more of an active play set (slide, swings, etc…). So I started brainstorming ideas to incorporate more play set features into a mid-century design.

Some of my favorite memories from growing up are playing with my cousins in a pretty similar playhouse at my grandma’s house. It kept us busy for hours upon hours, and my niece is still enjoying it to this day. So with my crazy nesting hormones going off, the idea of creating some outdoor spaces for kiddo memories is just about the most magical thing I can imagine!

Mid-Century Play Set (click though for full DIY)Here’s a view from the slide side! When I was shopping for a slide, the color options were a little slim, so I ended up going with yellow, matching the swings and handles to it, and then keeping the rest of the design really natural and neutral! The stain was perfect because it didn’t change the color of the wood and we wanted to keep it light. I also used Clark+Kensington’s Designer White as a clean, crisp accent color to pair with the wood.

Mid-Century Play Set (click though for full DIY) Here’s a view from behind the swing set. I picked this side of the yard for a lot of reasons, but most of all because I didn’t want to obstruct the view from our sunroom. As it is, you can see the play set, but barely. It’s also located right next to the deck that we are planning to build in the next year or two.

Mid-Century Play Set (click though for full DIY) The little flower box under the circle window is my favorite detail! I love how painting it with the Clark&Kensington (we used the color The Bright Side) helped tie together the colors from the slide and swings, and I LOVE how it mimics this project from the front of our home. This play set is like a tiny version of my own dream home!

Mid-Century Play Set (click though for full DIY)
Mid-Century Play Set (click though for full DIY) Here are some more detail photos.

Mid-Century Play Set (click though for full DIY) We have been having a lot of guests this month, and we have already gotten a LOT of use out of this play set. So don’t think it’s going to be sad and empty while we wait for our adoption- it’s BUSY over here! Our nieces and friends’ children (and adults!) are having so much fun playing with it.

OK… on to the DIY! 

Supplies:
-four 4″ x 4″ x 6′ pressure treated posts ($26.48)
-two 4″ x 4″ x 10′ pressure treated posts ($24.84)
-two 4″ x 4″ x 8′ posts ($23.96)
-one 4″ x 6″ x 12′ pressure treated board ($23.27)
-six 50-lb bags of fast setting concrete ($32.76)
-one piece of 3/4″ x 4′ x 8′ pressure treated plywood ($33.79)
-two 3/4″ x 6″ x 8′ pressure treated boards ($12.16)
-ten 2″ x 3″ x 8′ boards aka “stud” boards ($21.05)
-ten 2″ x 4″ x 8′ boards ($33.04)
-three 2″ x 2″ x 3′ boards ($18.66)
-eight 1″ x 12″ x 8′ boards ($117.72)
-three clear 26″ x 8′ corrugated polycarbonate roof panels ($62.91)
-four 5/8″ x 8″ lag bolts and washers ($13.96)
-4 10″ eye bolts ($27.88)
-eight 3″ L braces ($31.84)
-one 2-lb box of 2 1/5″ self drilling star head screws ($9.37)
-2 swings ($75.16)
-1 slide ($102.16)
-one gallon of Cabot Clear Wood Protector ($31.99)
-one gallon of Clark & Kensington semi gloss exterior paint (in Designer White)($36.99)
-one quart of Clark &Kensington semi gloss exterior paint (in The Bright Side)($17.99)
-two yellow handles ($14.95)
-yard flags (optional)
total: $791.84

Tools:
-post hole diggers
-drill
-compound miter saw
-4′ level
-ratchet with 1/2″ socket (for 5/8″ lag bolts)
-1/2″ x 16″ drill bit
-tape measure
-two 8′ ladders (1 optional)
-nail gun
– igsaw
-sandpaper (optional)
-two paint brushes

Mid Century Play Set (click through for tutorial!) First, measure out a 4′ x 4′ square in the space where you want your play set to be and mark all 4 corners. With your post hole diggers, dig your first hole in one of the corners of your 4′ square about 2′ deep. Take one of your 4″ x 4″ x 6′ pressure treated posts and place it in the hole. With a measuring tape, make sure that from the top of the post to the top of the hole is 4′. Once you have it at the right height, take a bag of your fast setting concrete and pour about half of the bag in around the base of your post. Grab a nearby water hose or a simple bucket of water and pour some water in your hole, saturating all of your concrete using a small stick or old screwdriver, and mix your concrete in the hole (it’s really that easy!). Take your 4′ level and make sure your post is perfectly straight up and down. Once you get it into place, check the post every few minutes (for about 15 min) to make sure it hasn’t moved at all. Repeat this step with the other 3 corners of your 4′ square, making sure all 4 posts are exactly 4′ apart and all perfectly level with one another.

Mid Century Play Set (click through for tutorial!) Have the store you buy your lumber from cut your 3/4″ x 4′ x 8′ pressure treated plywood into two 4′ x 4′ pieces. Take the two pieces and lay them both on top of your 4 posts. Line them up perfectly and screw them into the posts, ideally 4 screws per post for extra security! Then take your 3/4″ x 6″ x 8′ boards and cut them into 4′ pieces using your compound miter saw, making sure to cut the ends at 45° angles so they line up really nice, as shown above! These boards are for extra stability but are mainly aesthetic. Next, take your two 4″ x 4″ x 8′ posts and cut one in half to make two 4′ pieces and the other one into two 3’6″ pieces. Attach the two 4′ pieces to the front side of your play set using L braces and the 3′ 6″ pieces to the back side the same way.

StepUse extreme caution while doing this next step because you will be working with very heavy pieces of wood! With the help of a friend (or 2), very carefully take your 4″ x 6″ x 12′ pressure treated board and place one end on the back two posts of your play set (the 3′ 6″ side) and prop the other side up on a ladder as shown above. Temporarily take some small pieces of wood and screw them to the two posts holding the 12′ board to secure it to keep it from falling in the meantime until you can properly secure it. I would recommend having another person on a different ladder on the end now hanging off the play set to hold it from going anywhere while the next step is completed. Set your level on top of the board now propped up on the ladder and put some shims (thin pieces of wood, or just scrap wood lying around) underneath it on top of the ladder until it is level. Once it is perfectly level and you have someone holding the board propped up on the ladder in place, take your two 4″ x 4″ x 10′ posts and assemble them into a simple A-frame with two supports on either side right under it for support. You can assemble it laying down on the ground. You’ll have to cut the tops of the posts with your compound miter saw at whatever angles necessary to make this work for your space. I used some temporary wood screws to hold the pieces together until I was ready to bolt them together with the heavy duty lag bolts.

Mid Century Play Set (click through for tutorial!) Stand your A-frame up and line it up perfectly with the suspended board and mark the ground where the bottom of each post of your A-frame touches the ground. Lay the A-frame down out of the way for now. Now since your A-frame is 10′ and your suspended board will probably only be around 8′, you will have to adjust where you dig your post holes appropriately because the holes will need to be closer together than where you marked them originally. To be honest, there isn’t an exact way to explain this step because your space will not be perfectly level. So you will have to adjust everything to work for you. It will probably be trial and error until you get it perfect, but don’t be discouraged! You can do it! Once you have figured out where your post holes need to be so that your A-frame is the right height to support your suspended board, set the A-frame in the two holes and repeat the concrete pouring process you did earlier, making sure everything is perfectly level! Now that your A-frame is in place, use your 1/2″ drill bit and pre-drill where your lag bolts will go. Once pre-drilled, ratchet your lag bolts in very tightly as shown above. Now you can take off those temporary pieces of wood holding your 4″ x 4″ x 12′ board in place on your 3’6″ posts. Make sure your 3’6″ support posts are level straight up and down and pre drill for your lag bolts with your 1/2″ drill bit, one in each post. Ratchet your bolts down super tight, as tight as you possibly can! Now you have the swing set portion done! Next take two 2″ x 4″ x 8′ boards and cut them into 4′ pieces and cut the ends at 45° angles and attach them to the top of all 4 posts on your play set, as shown below.

Mid Century Play Set (click through for tutorial!) Next, attach your slide to whichever side you want (we chose the opposite side of the swings) and frame out your front entrance and your slide side exit to whichever height and width you want. Brace the other two blank walls into x braces as shown above. You can do all of this with your 2″x 3″ boards. This doesn’t need to be precise or perfect, just enough to brace everything and keep it secure.

Mid Century Play Set (click through for tutorial!) Next, the roof! Take 4 of your 2″ x 4″ x  8′ boards and on the ground make a 6′ x 6′ square, using your compound miter saw to make 45° cuts at all ends, and then screw it all together. Now take 3 more boards and cut them the appropriate length and place them equal distances apart inside the 6′ square and screw them in. This is the base for your roof. Now take your 2″ x 2″ x 3′ boards and cut 3 of them at 2′ (or your desired height) and a 15° angle on one side of each. Do the same but with 3 smaller 6″ pieces, these will all be the support posts for your roof. Fasten your 6 posts on the top of your play set, 4 at each corner and two in the middle on opposite sides. Now take your 6′ x 6′ roof and place it on top of all 6 posts and level everything up perfectly. Screw it all down. Now take your three 26″ x 8′ corrugated polycarbonate roof panels and lay them on top of your roof. Once you’ve got them all lined up and spaced evenly, use some screws to fasten all of the roof panels. You can take a razor knife or some scissors and cut off the extra. You can also wait to add the roof panels until after you paint, if you are painting your roof base! I made the mistake of adding them before and ended up having to climb back up a ladder and temporarily remove them to paint the roof base. Avoid that headache if you can!

Mid Century Play Set (click through for tutorial!) Now, you can take a measuring tape and space out your swings however far apart you want. Mark where your holes will be and pre drill your holes for your eye bolts. Once those are all screwed in, you can clip on your swings! For the ladder, just take some 2″ x 4″ boards and cut them to the desired length and height and screw them all together. Pretty easy! Next, grab your 1″ x 12″ x 8′ boards and start cutting them to the correct size. Two sides should be an even 4′ across and the other sides will be smaller cuts based on how you framed out your openings. Now take your nail gun and start fastening them to the sides of your play set, starting from the bottom and moving up. Once you have them all nailed on, grab a piece of cardboard or piece of paper and draw out your desired size circle for your window. Trace the circle wherever you want your window to be. Then grab a drill bit and drill a pilot hole along the line of the circle. Take your jigsaw and cut out your circle window! Now, before you paint, I would recommend grabbing some sandpaper and smoothing out all of your outside edges just a tad including your window. It’s entirely optional, but I think it adds that little extra finishing touch to really make it look nice!

Next, for the final and fun part! Take your Cabot Clear Wood Protector and simply paint it on whatever wood will be left natural. I recommend 2-3 coats for extra protection. This also gives it a really nice finished look! Once dry, tape off the edges of all of the natural wood and paint all of the trim and posts and the inside walls with your Clark+Kensington exterior paint in your desired color. (The Ace Paint Studio has a ton of color options that you can pick from!) Take your handles and screw them on with the supplied bolts and washers. If you want to add a planter under the window, follow these steps from this project. That’s it, you’re done! Time to get swinging!

Kiddos PlayingHere’s a snapshot of my nieces from last week! Thanks so much for reading!!! I love and appreciate you all. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to hit me up in the comments. xx -Elsie

HOW TO SEW YOUR OWN SLEEPING BAG


It’s not always easy to find cute sleeping bags for the occasional glamping trip or a weekend sleepover. Lucky for you, it’s easier than it looks to make your own for yourself or someone in your family! I made two sleeping bags for my two older kids as they may soon be spending a little more time at Grandma and Big Papi’s house, but I may also made myself one to match because I’m pretty jealous that they get to sleep in these.


Making your own sleeping bag is very similar to making a duvet cover only you are sewing all the way around the perimeter, folding it in half, and attaching a special zipper. You can easily adjust the length depending on whether you’re making this for an adult or a child, and the fabric options are only really limited by your imagination.

Adult Sleeping Bag Supplies:
-4 yards outer fabric
-4 yards inner fabric
–queen size high loft batting (prepackaged) or 4 yards of cut batting
–48″ dual separating zipper

Child Sleeping Bag Supplies:
-3 yards outer fabric
-3 yards inner fabric
-3 yards of cut batting (high loft)
-48″ dual separating zipper

Optional Supplies:
-If you want to hand-tie your sleeping bag, you’ll also need 1-2 skeins of embroidery thread and a tapestry needle
-fabric safe paint
-paintbrush
-cardboard or similar surface to protect your paint from bleeding through

Step One: Before cutting my canvas, I randomly hand-painted neon polka dots all over with fabric safe paint. I didn’t want it to feel too precise, so I just eyeballed it. I then allowed it to dry all afternoon before moving on to the next step.

Step Two: I made two child-sized sleeping bags so I had three yards of my outer fabric. I cut that precisely in half to get two equal lengths. Then I faced them with right sides together, lined them up along one of the long seams and pinned my straight pins every 6″ or so. I followed this by stitching down the length of that pinned side and then removing the pins. This created a squarish shape when unfolded.

Step Three: I basically repeated steps one and two with the inner fabric. I cut my three yards into two equal lengths measuring 1.5 yards each. I then faced the right sides together and pinned along one of the long edges. Finally, I stitched along that long edge and removed my pins.

Step Four: Next, place your outer fabric on the ground with the right side facing up. If you have non-carpeted floors, you can tape this piece down for a less wrinkled process. Then lay your unfolded inner fabric on top of the outer fabric so the right sides are facing each other. Be sure to line up your edges as best you can. Finally, lay your batting on top of the inner fabric and line up your edges. Smooth out your batting and pin all three layers together every 8″ or so along the perimeter where all three layers meet. If you have extra batting that hangs off two sides, trim it off.

Take this beast to your sewing machine and stitch along the perimeter of your fabric sandwich. Don’t start at the corner as you’ll want to leave about 8″ unstitched so you can turn it right side out. Trim your corners and remove any remaining pins when you’re done stitching.

Step Five: Turn your fabric sandwich right side out and be sure to poke out those corners.

Step Six: Iron your open edge so that it folds into itself nicely and pin it closed as shown. You can hand-stitch this shut when you’re making a quilt or something similar, but we’re sewing a zipper over this part so you can stitch it shut with your machine. Just be sure to sew it a bit closer to the edge than normal. Remove your pins.

Step Seven: Place your sleeping bag on the floor so the middle seam runs vertically. I rolled mine so you could see it better in the photo, but it’s not necessary. If you’re going to hand-tie your bag, you can skip this step. Otherwise, use yardsticks to split your panel into three or more equal sections. Use straight pins to mark where your stitched lines will be. You’ll want to do this all the way across your sleeping bag to make it even. This will help your batting to stay in place when it’s washed and adds some texture as well. If you have a light colored chalk on hand, it may help to draw your chalk line before pinning.

Step Eight: This is the necessary rolling part. With your sleeping bag completely flat, roll the bottom edge up to your first row of pins. This will help you fit your bag under your machine.

Step Nine: Stitch carefully along the line your pins created and remove them when you’re done. Remove your sleeping bag from under your machine each time you finish a row and then roll it up to the next row until you’re finished.

Step Ten: Place your zipper near the top of the right edge of your sleeping bag so that the right side of the zipper is facing the right side of your fabric. This will look upside down but it’ll create a more finished look once we’re done. Line up the edges and pin every 4″. It won’t be as long as the length of your sleeping bag but that’s okay.

Step Eleven: Unzip your zipper about 4″ to get started. If you’re using a zipper foot, this won’t be necessary, but if you’re using your standard presser foot, this is how we work around the fact that the zipper head is in the way. I wanted to show you this alternative method in case you are ever in that situation where you just can NOT find your zipper foot, or if you don’t have one. But, if you do have one, it makes life a little easier, so feel free to use it here.

Start with a back stitch and then stitch down to the zipper head, making sure to stitch about 1/4″ from the edge.

Lift your presser foot and pull your sleeping bag away from the machine about an inch to get yourself some wiggle room with the thread. Slide that zipper head back in place at the top, and then place your sleeping bag back under your presser foot where you left off. Continue stitching to the bottom.

Step Twelve: Do the same thing with the bottom zipper head by stitching until you get to it, lifting your presser foot, getting the zipper head out of the way, and resuming your stitching.

Step Thirteen: Back stitch a few times near the end.

Step Fourteen: Fold your sleeping bag in half like a taco with the right sides facing together and pin the other edge of your zipper to the other edge of the bag. The right sides should be facing each other and the long edges lined up. Pin every 4″ again. This is the bottom of the zipper.

Step Fifteen: This is the top corner of the zipper. Be sure your top edges are even before you start pinning and sewing!

Step Sixteen: Once you’ve sewn your zipper in, you’re going to want to enclose the bottom of your bag. Starting near the bottom of your zipper, pin along the bag so that the edges are lined up.

Step Seventeen: Place your bag under your presser foot so that you start sewing about 1/2″ over the long ends of your zipper. Back stitch and sew about 1/2″ in diagonally as shown. Then pivot and sew down to the corner of your bag.

Step Eighteen: Pivot your bag and continue stitching along that last length of your sleeping bag. Back stitch about 1″ from the fold in the middle of your bag as it may be too much fabric to try and stitch through it. Remove your pins.

Step Nineteen: Turn your bag right side out and make sure to poke out the bottom two corners.

Hooray! You’ve successfully made your own sleeping bag and Anthropologie is officially jealous! Your sleeping bags will be about 40″ wide and between 4.5′ and 6′ long depending on who you are making it for and how much fabric you’ve purchased. Once you’ve done one, you’ll speed through your second and/or third in no time. These can be washed in cold water and tumble dried on low, but I might also suggest line drying them to keep them lasting longer. They surely aren’t the kind of sleeping bags you want to take with you if you’re sleeping on the ground out in the woods, but they’d cozy up a tent or camper in the best way. 

EASY FABRIC PLANTER DIY

Who else is always bringing new plants home and later realizing they didn’t pick up a cute planter to place it in? It’s a thing. I decided it was time to repurpose some canvas from my fabric stash and make a few coiled planters to add even more color and texture to our space. It’s been a great way to make sure not all 34 plants I own are plopped into white planters, too! I was able to make a trio of fabric planters that fit over the containers of three of my favorite plants and made sure to use colors that would work well by themselves or as a group to give me more styling options. Or in case I kill one of them. It’s a thing.

We’ve teamed up with Fiskars to celebrate their Orange Handled Scissors’ 50th anniversary and to share how their scissors help you easily cut through all kinds of fabric, even a few layers at a time! As a lady with a large collection of pretty scissors that aren’t always functional, I truly appreciate how these Fiskars scissors stay sharp and cut all the way to the end of the blade. No more thumb blisters for me! Keep scrolling to find out how to make your own fabric planters and sort of justify all of those trips to the plant store. Ha!

Supplies
– two yards of cotton canvas fabric for the coils (large basket)
– one yard of gauzy cotton fabric to wrap coils (large basket) or 20 yards of cotton yarn
– plastic tapestry needle
– Fiskars Orange-handled Scissors

This is a smaller scale sample of how to cut your fabric. In order to get a rope-like effect from a yard of fabric, you’ll want to make cuts from one long side almost all the way through with cuts about 3″ apart. Then cut in from the opposite long side in between so that you cut almost all the way up. Once you pull this apart, it’ll expand into a fabric rope with awkward angles. When you twist it, those angles will get twisted in and disappear.

After you’ve cut all of your fabric, wrap it into a loose coil to keep it from getting tangled up. Then twist up your canvas fabric for about 3 feet.

Step One: Cut 3 ft of gauzy cotton and tie it around the end of three strips of canvas cotton (make one longer than the others by 1 ft).

Step Two: Place the tail end of the knotted cotton onto the canvas cotton and wrap around both with the long end to cover it up.

Step Three: Fold your wrapped end in like you’re making a circle and use the gauzy cotton to wrap around where they meet one time.

Step Four: Wrap two more times around the canvas cotton and then thread your gauzy cotton with your needle. Stitch through the center of your coil and pull tight.

Step Five: Continue wrapping twice around the canvas cotton only and then stitch around both the outer layer of canvas cotton and the one underneath it. Keep twisting your cotton canvas as you go. This gives it shape as well as strength.

Step Six: When you run out of gauzy cotton, tie a new 3 ft. strip to the end and tie a knot. Open up the canvas cotton and place the tail ends of your gauzy cotton inside.

Step Seven: Twist the canvas cotton up again to help hide the tail ends and then keep wrapping and stitching.

Step Eight: Once your diameter is wide enough for your liking, start stitching your next layer of canvas cotton directly above your last one to build up the sides of your planter. You’ll continue wrapping twice around one layer of canvas cotton and then once around two layers of canvas cotton.

Step Nine: Whenever you’re about to run out of canvas cotton, cut another two strips and place them near the ends of the canvas cotton that is running out.

Step Ten: Use the longer piece of canvas cotton to keep wrapping around that section to help hide the ending and beginning.

Step Eleven: Continue coiling, wrapping, and stitching until your pot is as high as you’d like. Hide the tail end of your canvas cotton by wrapping around it 4-5 times with your gauzy cotton and then stitching through all five of those. Pull through, cut off the end of your gauzy cotton, and tuck back under.

You can see how using only one thick strand of fabric in your coil will give you a completely different look than twisting up four strands of wider fabric. I made another thinly coiled planter below for a smaller plant and then made my third one with thicker coils. I finished it much quicker but still love having a variety of thin, medium, and thick coils in this trio.

If you’re not a plant lady and don’t share in the burden of always needing another cute pot, you can use these for cute baskets in any room of your house. Place a few on a side table to stash remotes and charging cords or make a large one to gather items that need to be put away as you pick up around the house. Three cheers for pretty baskets that you made yourself! 

MAKE YOUR OWN FRESH MANDARIN WREATH

make your own fresh mandarin wreathLately, I’ve really been enjoying using more natural elements in my home decor, so when it came time to decorate for the holidays, I decided this would be the year I would actually make wreaths using fresh greenery—and fresh citrus too! I love the look of dried citrus ornaments strung on a garland or hung on a tree, but I saved myself a step this time and used whole mandarins, straight from their crate.

We’ve partnered with Wonderful Halos mandarins to bring you this holiday craft idea that’s simple, sweet (literally), and will fill your home and hands with the most delightful seasonal scents. If you’re looking for a fun and easy craft night idea, this is it! Invite a few friends over to share in the fun, snack on some mandarins, and even mix up a few citrus cocktails along the way.

make your own fresh mandarin wreathSupplies:
–Wonderful Halos mandarins
-fresh winter greenery (I used cedar and eucalyptus sourced from a local florist.)
–green wire (I used 22 gauge.)
–wire cutters
-scissors for cutting greenery
–wire wreath 

make your own fresh mandarin wreathStep One: Cut your greenery into lengths that are easy to work with and attach them with wire to the wreath base. You can use longer lengths if they’re able to bend how you like. If you want to save time, you can attach large bunches of greenery at a time, but if you want a more delicate looking wreath, you’ll want to take the time to carefully attach just enough smaller pieces to cover the wire base.

make your own fresh mandarin wreathStep Two: Keep each bunch of greenery going in the same direction as you completely cover the wire wreath. After I created a base of cedar, I added a few sprigs of fresh eucalyptus.

At this point, you’ll want to test out your mandarins to ensure they’re as delicious as they look. (They will be.) This was my favorite step of the process, and my kiddos’ too! My 5-year-old was creating her own mini greenery arrangements while I made my big wreath, snacking away as she crafted. We ended up using an entire crate of Wonderful Halos mandarins, but funny enough, more of them made it into our bellies than onto the wreath. It was nice to be able to say yes when my girls asked if they could have another. To their shock, I even said, “You may have as many as you’d like.” Mandarins are a much smarter choice for a holiday snack than a Christmas cookie, but the girls still get excited about eating them just the same.

make your own fresh mandarin wreathOnce you have your wreath as full as you’d like, then you’re ready to actually do something with the mandarins—other than eating them, that is.

make your own fresh mandarin wreathStep Three: To attach the mandarins, simply pierce their skin through with the 22 gauge wire, and twist the wire onto the wreath base the same as you did with the greenery. If you have trouble with one flopping about when you move the wreath, you can pierce it with another strand of wire in another spot to make the mandarin more secure.

make your own fresh mandarin wreathI was aiming for a somewhat random placement of the mandarins, while still keeping a sense of balance, but after the wreath was finished I realized that I had ended up following a pattern. I basically alternated between placing one mandarin closer to the outer edge of the wreath and the next one closer to the center.

When you’re making the wreath, feel free to get creative by adding as many or as little mandarins as you place. I think this wreath would look great in an asymmetrical arrangement as well, but keep in mind that the mandarins add quite a bit of weight, so you’ll have to secure the wreath to your hanging hardware to keep the heavy side from rotating downward. (Thanks, gravity!) I’m thinking using wire to attach the wreath to a hook should do the trick just fine.

Tip: Keep in mind that the more mandarins you add, the heavier your wreath will be. This means you will probably have to use something more substantial than an adhesive hook. If you’re nailing into drywall, you may need to use an anchor.

make your own fresh mandarin wreathmake your own fresh mandarin wreathI greatly overestimated how much greenery I would need for one wreath, so I have a bunch of cedar leftover, as well as plenty of mandarins. Looks like I might be hosting a craft night with friends before Christmas! Now I have an example wreath decking out my bar cart, and plenty of cocktail making supplies. Who’s up for a mandarin old fashioned? –