Wednesday, June 9, 2010

How To: Wall Hook Leash Holder

I really wanted something cute to hang Lolly's leashes on because they were living in a pile on the floor next to the door. To my dismay, there aren't that many cute ones out there for sale!

There are several available on Amazon, but I just wasn't finding what I wanted. A few of the options out there:

That last one seriously scares me.

Then I saw this tutorial online and decided to make my own!

Here is what I started with--its kind of cute, but the seashell on it is a little bit amorphous and weird so I didn't feel bad about the next part...

...which is ripping it off by wedging a screwdriver under it and pulling! Then I took all the hardware off and put it aside so I could put it back on later once I re-surfaced the plaque.

Then I spray-painted it black.

And took some fine grit sandpaper to the edges to distress it a little bit and let that pretty blue paint show through. Problems though...First, it wasn't shiny enough for me, and second, you could still see where I pulled off the seashell. What to do, what to do?

Modge Podge to the rescue! Oh yes, high gloss is so pretty! I cut out a piece of black cardstock (or you could use scrapbook paper, or any paper you have that is smooth without any tooth) that was the exact size as the inner square.

I then spread some Modge Podge on the back of the black paper square and placed it over the inner square, and then covered the whole thing in Modge Podge to make it uniformly shiny and protected.

Now for the fun part (ok the other part was fun too!)

I picked this metallic-effect silver polymer clay so that my design would pop out from the black background. As you may have noticed, the blog I got the idea from put a photograph in the middle rather than going this route.

I made a cute little dog bone, and then spelled out "Woof!" and baked it in my oven according to the package directions. I thought about putting "Lolly's Leash" but then was afraid of getting jinxed. Yes seriously.

A little bit of super glue, and let it dry...then return all the hardware to the holes they came out of.

This is a neat trick for hanging things on the wall for people like me who are not good at math! Take a piece of tape and put it across both holes. Poke through the tape in the locations where the nails will go. You can now remove the tape, and you have the distance you need to space your nails on the wall. No measuring tape necessary! Just stick the tape to the wall, eye it where you like it, then put the nails in through the holes you poked.

Et Voila! The prima donna with her new lease holder!

This project was seriously the cheapest, easiest, quickest one I have done yet. It cost me about $10 and took only a few hours, even accounting for the time for the paint and decoupage to dry! It is such a huge improvement because now the leashes are not on the floor where they catch pet hair and are hard to find. Whoop whoop!

Friday, June 4, 2010

How To: Garden Twig Trellis

Remember those peas? Did you peek underneath them to see what they were growing up? That's right, I made a trellis for them out of twigs that we found in the park and in our yard! This is all you need: sticks,

scissors, and twine!

The first step is to find several sturdy, larger sticks to be your vertical supports. My bed is 8 feet long and has 4 vertical sticks breaking it into 3 sections. You need one on each end and then a few in the middle. Those plants in the bed are lettuce--the peas were just seeds when I built this.
Once you pick those larger sticks out, then you want some medium sticks--not as big as the vertical supports, but also not bendy. I made them in 3 levels, slightly overlapping at each vertical support.

Here is a close-up of how I attached the sticks to one another. Just cut off a piece of twine about a foot long, then wrap it around one of the sticks a couple of times. Now criss-cross the strings over each other, and wrap it around the other sticks. Repeat that, then tie a square knot and cut off the extra. If you are really serious about your trellis lasting, you can use liquid nails and screws, because the twine will disintegrate after a few years in the weather.

Once you get your main three levels of horizontal supports, you get to start with you first diagonals. Now pull out sticks that are pretty long, and very flexible. I used green twigs from a recently-pruned crape myrtle, but I have also read about using willow.

Space the diagonals evenly, and weave them in and out of the horizontal supports. Alternate how they are woven as you go across (the first one front-back-front, the second one back-front-back). Then tie the diagonals to the horizontal and vertical supports as you go.

The last step is the second set of diagonals. If you did your first diagonals left-to-right, then this set should go right-to-left to form Xs and diamond shapes.

Again, weave them in and out alternating directions, and tie them to every other stick everywhere they naturally touch. They should be tight at this point, and you shouldn't need the twine to make them stay for a minute--so you can put them in temporarily, then step back to make sure you like the placement before you tie them on.

Here are a couple pictures of the finished product before the peas got their start:

I'm not gonna lie, my fingers hurt pretty badly by the time I was done because I tied so many knots!

And here are some pictures of the trellis covered in delicious peas! (Also the raised beds got a fresh coat of barn and fence paint in the meantime.) I wish I had take a few "during" shots so that you could see the vines as they climb.

The plants in front of the peas are (right to left) peppers, eggplant, and zucchini.

You can really see in this one how the little tendrils grip the trellis to pull the plant up.

You could make a trellis like this for any climbing plant, like clematis, roses, honeysuckles, or trumpet creeper. Does anyone else have a trellis they love? I would love to see pictures!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I'm Loving: Mar y Sol Handbags

These handbags from Mar Y Sol are so bright and cheery I want one of each! I love the wooden details, structure, and natural texture. And they are actually affordable for a regular gal like me!

I bet you can guess which one I like the best...