Monday, June 2, 2014

Confessions of a plant murderer!

Normally, I wouldn't be one to promote the use of live greenery in one's house.  It isn't that I don't love plants and all manner of shrubbery, it's just that I tend to favor greenery of the plastic variety as I have the world's worst green thumb!

Nay,  I have a black thumb...like the blackest thumb there ever was.

My thumb is a nebulous of dark matter...a black hole! 

I am a plant murderer!

What I'm trying to say is that my track record with living plants is quite gruesome.  It could have something to do with the fact that, much like children, plants actually require attention, water, feeding and sunlight.  {Frankly, I'm lucky if my kids get all those things let alone the quiet, little fern sitting in the corner.}

Anywho, I've decided that I am ready to take on more responsibility.  I am ready for the added commitment of taking care of an actual live plant.  Actually, more like seven.  I may have bitten off more than I can chew!

But I gotta be honest with you.  There is something very refreshing about having live plants indoors.  I suppose it could have something to do with the whole "plants make oxygen" thing, but more than that, plants just really warm up and soften a space.  And, they look really, really good...especially when they aren't withered and dead!

So, if you're anything like me and love the notion of live plants indoor but have a horrific track record when it comes to keeping them alive, I've compiled a short list of some of my current favorite plants which also just happen to be some of the most resilient, most difficult to kill plants there ever were.  You're welcome!

As a life long resident of the desert, I have a natural affinity for... 

Succulents

The best feature of these little beauties is that they are meant to survive without water...they are totally up my alley!  But, they are also gorgeous.
{source}

I love all of the varied colors and the thick, fleshy leaves {due to the water they are storing}.
They are relatively inexpensive…around $3 for small plant and around $15 for a larger plant.   They can be found at most nurseries or garden centers.  In my opinion, you can't go wrong with any succulent.  They are all really beautiful, but my current faves are... 

Burros tail This one currently resides in my son's room…which is in the dungeon {basement}.  I literally haven't watered it in a month and guess what?…

 Not dead!  Yee-haw!!!

This flapjack succulent is a recent addition.  I love the large, flat, purple tipped leaves.  Granted it hasn't been in my care for long…four days, but so far it's holding up.


Snake plant or African spear plant {not really a succulent, but never the less, difficult to kill…or so I'm told}
My kids have really taken to this plant.  In fact, they've been caught using it to sword fight with several times.  Good luck lil' buddy.

Ferns

Ferns are a hearty plant, making them a great option for someone like me.

 Right now my fern of choice is the birds nest fern.  They have little curly tendrils originating from the center of the plant that eventually flatten out and become beautiful, ruffled leaves.


Aside from {weekly} watering and monthly ferts {that's short for fertilization} these plants don't require much care and are extremely low maintenance.

Ficas

Caring for a ficus is much like caring for a fern.  They require the obvious things:  water, sunlight and monthly ferts, but not much more than that.

My very most favorite plant ever right now is the fiddle leaf fig plant/tree.  They are in the ficus family and are native to tropical climates so they thrive in warm, humid environments.  But, they are tough plants which makes them capable of withstanding less-than-perfect conditions.

The large, leathery leaves are my favorite thing about this plant.
They vaguely resemble a violin and look like something right out of Jurassic Park…come to think of it, most of the plants I featured look like they came from "dinosaur times".

Anywho...

I found this little guy at Ikea for $19.99…I know, super cheap, but it is the most expensive plant I have in my house.

I'll be honest, I'm a little concerned about the possible plant carnage I might encounter in the upcoming weeks/months.  But, up until now, I haven't had a problem staying on top of caring for my new additions…I've even managed to remember to feed my kiddos too.  Holla!

So, have I convinced you to run out and by a bum load of plants?  Awesome!

Then you're gonna wanna stay tuned for a super easy, totally related tutorial that will take your plants from prehistoric to prehistor-chic!!!  {Oh, yes I did!}










Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Leather Applique Pillow

Okay, so I know I already boasted about having the easiest project ever…but I lied!

This is the easiest project ever!!!
No, seriously, it literally takes you three minutes and twenty seconds…I timed myself.

All you need is:

A Pillow
A sheet of leather {found at most craft stores}
And a glue gun

Now, you may be asking yourself why anyone would want to take a perfectly good pillow and hot glue leather all over it.  And my answer is…because it's totally rad!

Imagine Spider Man without his spidey suit.  I mean, Peter Parker is perfectly adorable and fine, but the second he dons that spidey suit he is like Sah-weet Butter…am I right?

Ya, well, that's what adding leather to your pillows is like…Peter Parker vs. Spiderman.  And let's be honest, who wouldn't mind Spiderman hanging out on the couch in the living room?

Anyway, moving on!

I mean, this project is so simple it doesn't even need a tutorial, but I'll go ahead and briefly explain what I did.

I plugged in my glue gun and while it was heating up I cut my leather sheet in half lengthwise.  
Then I took my "ordinary" pillow and placed the leather pieces on it to get an idea of spacing.
By then my glue gun was hot, so I glue those babies into place and voila...

Spidey Pillows!!!


All said and done, this project only cost me $7 for the sheet of leather…and if you have a 40% off coupon well then it will only cost you whatever 40% off $7 is {which isn't very much}.

I'm pretty sure I'll be making another one of these {or maybe four or five} because they are so easy and look so good.  More to come on that later.

So, are your Spidey senses tingling now?  Ya, I think that means you should go make one of these leather pillows too!!!



Saturday, May 10, 2014

Geometric Copper Pendant- Tutorial

Have I mentioned how much I love this light?  I am super excited to share the tutorial for how to make it because, well, I'm a giver.  BUT, also because it is fairly simple project that looks way more complicated than it really is.
For the record, I did not enjoy geometry in school.  Angles and the pythagorean theorem…blech!  I'm not ashamed to say that I am geometrically challenged.  I do, however, know that this light is made up of a bunch of equilateral triangles…ba-bam!!!
{Thanks Ms. Grisenti.  See I was listening.}
Anyway, I share this with you because my approach in assembling this project may seem a little haphazard and, well, more complicated than it should be.  So hopefully you can follow me.

Here's what you need to get started:
*22 gauge floral wire {found at any craft store}
*tube cutter {found at any home improvement center for about $7}
*1/4 inch copper refrigerator tubing {I found this tubing at the Home Depot...about $18 for 20 ft.}

I started by cutting 30, 6 inch pieces of of copper tubing.  Note:  If I were to make another light, I would probably increase the length to 7 or 8 inches.  I wouldn't say the pendant is small, I just think I'd like the next one to be a little larger.  Anyway…

This step is the most time consuming {and possibly painful}.  Using the tube cutter is not difficult, but after repeating the process thirty times your fingers will be, well, dead.  This is good task to pass on to the hubby, especially this weekend as it is mother's day and he can't say no. 
 Happy Mother's Ya'll…by the way!

Once all your pieces are cut you can start assembling.  I began by making a triangle.

And continued to make triangles



Until I ended up with this…a pentagon-ish type shape.  Just…you need five triangles!

Then I started adding triangles around the pentagon.

And ended up with a star.

Then next step was connect the tips of all of the triangles with a piece of tubing.

Here's what it will look like after.  It's nearly done.  

You should have five pieces of tubing remaining at this point, which you will attach individually to the five bottom joints of the structure.  Be sure to leave some extra wire coming out the end of the unattached side of the tube for later use.  The arrows in the photo below better indicate which joints I'm referring to.

You can see in this picture where I attached two tubes to the joints and then to each other creating a triangle.  Continue adding tubes and attaching them to the point of the triangle.

Here's what it will look like when all five tubes are attached and secured at the point.
The structure itself is now complete.

At this point, I was scratching my head as to how I would attach the structure to a lamp kit.  Ever the DIY'er I utilized something I have readily available at my house…cardboard.

I set the light on top of the cardboard and traced out one of the triangles.

Then I cut it out slightly larger than the tracing.

I opted to use a lamp kit from Ikea {they cost about $5}.  I centered the socket on the cardboard and traced around it.


And cut it out and made sure it fit snuggly on the socket.  This cardboard piece will become the support for the light structure.

I used some of this



To paint to cardboard and light socket copper so it would blend in with the light.

If you look closely at the picture you can see how the structure is resting on the cardboard.   I actually added some hot glue to to the top of it so it wouldn't slip around.  You may be wondering how a flimsy piece of cardboard is supporting the weight of the light, but surprisingly the light isn't all that heavy.

And then just sit back and admire your handiwork!




Here's a side by side of the inspiration light and my DIY version.
I ended up making two pendant lights and spent about $20 for each.

* $28 for 30 ft. of copper tubing {one light requires approximately 15 ft. of tubing}
* 2 lamp kits from Ikea at $5 each
* 22 gauge wire about $2

...for a grand total of $40!

And a third of the cost of the original.  Happy Mother's Day to me!!!

And again, a Happy Mother's Day to you too!!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

{Urban Outfitters} Inspired Geometric Pendant…who knew lights could look so good!

Uh, so, in case you didn't notice, I've been AWOL the past couple months.
  
I won't bore you with the details of my lengthy disappearance, but will simply just say that my family really appreciated my full attention these past few months {and I really enjoyed giving it to them} but I am more than ready to get back to blogging and project..ing!

Which brings me to...

My son's bedroom, which up until recently was pretty much just a box with a bed in it.  Very sad.  Very uncool! 

Which is unfortunate, because Carter's a pretty cool kid...
{except for when he encounters a spider}
so I was feeling the pressure to perform with these lights.  I knew they would have to be pretty awesome to get his stamp of approval.

And then I came across this pendant light on  UrbanOutfitters.com
and I knew I had found my inspiration.

They aren't' ridiculously priced at $69, but I needed two {one for either side of the bed} and didn't want to eat up $150 of my already tight budget.  So, I decided to try and make my own for a fraction of the price.

My DIY version of this geometric pendant{s} cost about $20 {per light} to make…and actually ended up looking equally as cool as the original.  Initially, I had planned on painting the lights gold/brass, similar to the color pictured above.  But once the lights were complete I kinda loved the copper.  I think for a teenage boys room it was the right choice over the gold.




I think I might actually have a crush on these guys.  Carter may be starting to catch on as I stop and admire them every time I pass by his room.   I mean, it's kinda hard not to stare at them, right?

And for those of you interested in kicking up your cool factor, I will be posting a tutorial on how to make these in the next day or two.  You'll be surprised at how easy it is to be cool!


Friday, January 24, 2014

The easiest project ever! Ever!!!

Wow!  Has it really been a month since I last posted?!?

I might be ashamed of that fact,  if it weren't for the super important project I've been working on..."being mommy".  Ya, I pretty much bailed on you guys so that I could focus my total and complete attention on five of my very best creations...my kids!  

Things were a little crazy going into the holidays and I could tell my kids needed some attention, especially my daughter who has special needs.  She's been struggling a little and I just needed to take some time off to focus on her for bit.

Anyway, things appear to be on the up and up now and the blogging/crafting/projecting has officially resumed!  

I decided to ease myself back into things with The World's Quickest and Easiest Project Ever...Ever!!!

I am totally serious this project literally took me five minutes to make and cost only $3.  Intrigued?  Here's how it went down.

You need only TWO supplies...a glue gun and a floor mat.  You know how much I love the $3 floor mats from Ikea

I hopped on Ikea's website and here are some of the floor mats they have in stock currently...all for just $2.99!


 I've used these mats to make all sorts of things floor poufs, roman shades and now pillow covers.

To get started:
1- I plugged in my glue gun.
2.  I folded my floor mat creating a little pocket or envelope.




3- I hot glued both sides of the mat.





{note: you over achievers could sew up both sides instead of gluing.  My machine was having issues that day, so I made it easy on myself and just hot glued it.  I always have the option of going back and sewing it up later...if need be.}

4- I flipped the mat inside out.



5- I shoved an old accent pillow inside.

And VOILA.  Done!

Can you believe this pillow cover only cost $3 and took only 5 minutes to make?  



What I love most about these pillow covers, besides being super easy and cheap to make, is that they are removable.  If you need to wash it or just want to change it out, all you have to do is remove the insert and you're good to go.  And because they are made from something meant to be walked on, they are super durable.

And apparently fringe is the totally "in" thing right now.  I found this similarly styled pillow at Target recently
{Nate Berkus for Target- regularly $24.99, but currently on sale for $17.48}

So, today's tip of the day:  Ikea floor mats and glue guns are totally rad...especially when they are used to make these awesomely cheasy {cheap + easy} pillow covers.

Finally, I just thought I'd leave you with this anxiety provoking image:

Check back soon to see why my bedroom looks like a closet threw up in it!