Macrame Cord Hanging Light

You might know that I caught the macrame bug last summer. There is just something so magical about transforming a simple piece of rope! Once I figured out the basics, I wanted to be able to create some more original designs as well. Here are my posts on macrame plant hangers:

Even with my love of plants and hanging planters, I was running low on things to make with rope, so I was very excited to see this I discovered macrame pendant lights. I first caught sight of Windy Chien’s Helix light in the Apartment 34’s One Room Challenge:

And then, I began spotting it everywhere, like in this beautiful bedroom from Katie Monkhouse:

Mandi Gruber (my idol!) also has a funky version of this simple and gorgeous idea, as does Holly Wade on Curbly.

I was looking for bedside lamps for our guest room and teen’s room, and I knew that I just had to try my own version of these lights!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Light bulb: looks great with an LED Edison bulb or G40 frosted LED bulb
  • For the hanger, I used my favorite Ikea Ekby Valter brackets (I’ve used them as plant hangers, as well as, as intended, shelf brackets). I stained the unfinished brackets with walnut stain. The 9mm rope light is hanging from the larger size bracket, and the 5mm rope light is hanging from the smaller bracket.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Test your light kit! It’s probably fine, but you’ll be spending several hours on it, so you want to make sure you didn’t get a lemon
  • find the midpoint of your rope and lay it behind your cord, next to the light fixture. With the two long ends of rope, start tying a wave knot
  • Tips: it can get unwieldy working with so much rope. I used a kitchen scale to help me divide the rope in half. I also used rubber bands to hold together the balls of rope, so they would not unravel.

  • Keep going
  • (Turn on a movie or podcast)
  • Keep going
  • When you get to the switch, neatly line the rope along the sides of the switch and then resume your wave knot
  • When you’ve almost reached the plug, use a gathering knot to finish off the ends

Here are some pictures of the hanging lights – the navy cord was made with 5mm cord and the denim cord with 9mm rope.

I don’t know about you, but I want to make another one (or ten) soon.

Happy knotting!

Julie aka “Jewels”

Dyeing to DIY… Shibori!

I love the look of shibori – which is hardly surprising, since I love all things blue and white, and fabric. I finally overcame my skittishness about dye and tried this technique… now, I am 100% addicted! I’ve got lots … Continue reading

Some Things Never Get Old – Vintage Superhero Wall Art 

Superheroes have been capturing our imagination for decades, and the recent revival of superhero movies shows they are truly timeless. And since everything else with kids changes way too fast, superheroes make a great and enduring theme for their decor. I really enjoyed making these art projects for our kids and our friends’ boys.

My materials for the vintage superhero art were:

The calendar pages look great framed on their own. For our friends’ boys, I made these framed initials:

Looking for more superhero ideas? You may remember the covered mirrors and pencil tins I made a while back!

To infinity and beyond,

“Jewels”

That Spells DNA – Nerdy and Beautiful Baby Quilts

“DNA, you’re in my heart
DNA, in fact you’re in every part of my body
Each cell has a nucleus, each nucleus has chromosomes
And DNA, baby, that spells DNA”

-That Spells DNA by Jonathan Coulton

I can thank Steve, who is at the forefront of all things nerdy, for introducing me to Jonathan Coulton over a decade ago. Of course, as a genetic counselor, I have a particular soft spot for “That Spells DNA.” If you’re as nerdy as we are, and you don’t already know and love this song, you will want to check it out!

So, when we found out we were having a mini baby boom in our work family, with two babies due within two months, it wasn’t too hard for me to decide on DNA-themed baby quilts as gifts.

I found the DNA-themed fabric, Color DNA stripe by Melissa McCulloch, on Spoonflower. The fabric in the quilts is actually left over from a few Halloweens ago when our group dressed up as (if terrible puns cause you pain, skip this next part!) Gene-gnomes. The colors were a perfect jumping off point for this colorful gender-neutral patchwork of yellow, blues, greens and coral-red.

Here are some close-ups of the beautiful fabrics. I wanted to use every last scrap of the DNA fabric, so there is one patch in each of the quilts that I like to call “CRISPRed.” Can you spot one?

And here are a few more pictures of the quilts during their photo shoot, before they went off to their new homes!

All the colors and patterns together make me so happy! I am excited to meet the newest babies of our work family and give them their quilts, so they can start their genetics lessons early!

“Jewels”

Custom Scrapbook Luggage Tags

These little luggage tags make wonderful gifts that are quick to make and practical!

Every kids loves having something with their name on it, and every adult fears taking the wrong bag at the airport. I’ve actually done this – and it was a huge pain, because I had to spend hours and $$ going back to LAX to exchange the bag, but I was relieved that at least the woman whose bag I accidentally took was really nice about it.

I love all the ways you can customize these luggage tags. I am showing these with scrapbook paper, but I’ve also made some out of wedding invitations to give as a gift to the couple, and you could use photos or lots of other ideas!

I’ve made tags with two different types of lamination:

img_5487

There’s really nothing better than a beautiful combination of scrapbook paper and stickers, is there? … Well, maybe dark chocolate and red wine… or world peace… okay, but these are really fun and pretty, so go and make some, because world peace may take a while to achieve.

“Jewels”

Macrame Plant Hangers- Now in Color!

I’ve decided to call my crafting style “serial crafting monogamy.” I definitely go on streaks where I fall in love with a new technique and can’t get enough of it. Right now, I’m sure you have noticed, I am addicted to macrame. Once I got the hang of it, I have so many ideas to try!

Today’s post is about adding color to your plant hangers – I did this with dyeing an ombre pattern as well as with adding colorful embroidery floss.

If you want to go back and see other posts on macrame, here are the links:

First, check out these beautiful ombré plant hangers. I made them with cotton clothesline and created the ombre pattern with navy fabric dye.


To get the ombré effect, I dipped the plant hanger in a container of dye solution and then pulled it out and hung it with just the bottom sitting in the dye for 20-30 minutes.

The other way I added color to the plant hangers was by adding gathering knots in different colors of embroidery floss.

And I just recently discovered Bobbiny cotton rope from Poland. It’s so soft, recycled, and beautiful, so I’m definitely scheming to add more color to my macrame projects that way!

“Jewels”

DIY Upcycled Metallic Planters – Being Green is Golden!

Today’s project is a great way to reuse – or “upcycle” items around your house, while creating something beautiful to feed your plant problem… I mean plant addiction… I mean plant projects! If you are a crazy plant lady like me, you are always looking for new ways to display your plants. I’m definitely not opposed to going shopping for some pretty planters, but it’s also amazing what you can do with things around your house.

A while ago, I showed you the faux marble planters I made from empty yogurt containers. The marble paper works well for sloped containers, because the pattern is random. But if you can find some containers that have straight sides (hint, eat a lot of Talenti Gelato- you know, for the cause!), then you have got to try out the same trick with metallic contact paper!

Here’s what you will need:

Here’s how to make the planters:

  • Wash out your container. For the shampoo and body wash containers, I roughly trimmed off the top – the final trimming will happen at the end
  • Measure the height and circumference of your container and cut out a piece of metallic contact paper that is the desired height and about a centimeter longer than the circumference
  • Carefully apply the contact paper
  • For the shampoo and body wash containers, I finished trimming the top after I put on the paper, so that it was exactly flush with the contact paper
  • That’s all!

You can put in drainage holes, if you want. If you use the containers without drainage holes, make sure to put a layer of rocks and some agricultural charcoal at the bottom and be careful not to overwater.

I think these pictures prove that being green can be completely golden!

“Jewels”

(Inspired by) Noro Striped Scarf

This beautiful scarf has been shared by many knitters. It’s a simple pattern where the yarn does the hard work. Originally made with Noro yarns, I tried it using some yarn I already had.

The concept is simple – two colorways of self-striping yarn alternating every two rows. The ever-changing combination is mesmerizing and beautiful.

How to do it:

  • Plan for a finished width of 6-8″ and finished length of 5-6′
  • This pattern is knit in a 1x 1 rib
  • Slip the first and last stitches on the second row of each color to keep the edge neat
  • An odd number of stitches will look extra neat, because you start and end each row with the same type of stitch, but an even number is simplest, because you start each row the same way. I did it this way, and it’s barely noticeable

This scarf is addictive to knit, because each section comes together in a unique pattern. It’s also very photogenic!

Warmly 😉,

“Jewels”

It’s in the Bag – Stenciled Totes

Most years, I try to make something creative as holiday gifts for our teachers and coworkers. There’s so much joy in giving, but we’re also living in a time and place where it feels like everything is at your fingertips, so something handmade feels like a good way to express how much we appreciate those around us. When I can manage it, I make a few extra to last through the year as hostess and grown-up birthday gifts. I’ve linked to previous years’ handmade gifts at the bottom of the post, if you’re looking for more ideas.

This year, I decided to make stenciled canvas tote bags as our holiday treat. They’re so pretty and unique, yet also practical, as we’re trying to minimize our use of disposable shopping bags. I had so much fun trying different combinations of colors and patterns.

What you’ll need:

How to do it:

  • Prewash the bags
  • Choose a stencil and use blue painters tape to hold it in place
  • Put an eye md magazine inside the bag, so the paint won’t go through to the other side
  • Mix paint with textile medium according to the instructions
  • Use the spouncer to apply light coats of paint
  • Once thoroughly dry, iron the pattern using a press cloth to set the paint
  • That’s all! Unless you’re me and repeat it many, many times!

Here are just some of the combinations I made!

Tile stencil in navy and in ombré blues:

Arrows, with a contrasting accent color and (bottom left) ombré blues:

Feathers,with a contrasting accent color or (bottom) ombré blues and greys.

I really liked the feathers!

I loved the tile in this mix of copper and gold paint. The metallic paints were very thick and made very crisp designs.

A close up of the feathers:

The birds were fun to arrange in different patterns and colors.

My mother-in-law likes gingko leaves, so I made this one for her:

And I got to keep this one for myself!

No matter how I plan, the holidays are hectic. I definitely all felt worthwhile when I went to give out the bags. Our teachers and friends were so excited – it definitely put me in the spirit of the season!

it made me happy to make the people I care about happy. My friend Liane took this great photo of her bag:

Looking for more handmade gift ideas? Here are some from past years:

“Jewels”

Hanging Out & Hanging Up Plants

Hello, Crazy Plant Lady here today!

My good friend, Nicola, asked me to share more about how I’m installing my macrame plant hangers (see this post and this post for the details on the hangers).


There are lots of creative ideas for creating hanging plant displays. I’ve started with some easy methods, including hanging my plants from

  • Wooden beams
  • Curtain rods
  • Wall brackets

I’ll give you those details and also include some more ambitious ideas that I still fantasize about!

One general tip is that I chose lighter weight planters. Some of my plants are hanging in my made-over yogurt containers, and others are in glass jars or vases, some painted with metallic spray paint.

Wooden Beams

I lucked out to have these beams running in our family room, so I screwed in coat hooks for my plants. Obviously, not every house has wooden beams, but if you do, this is easy, and to display more, you can screw in two hooks and run a rod between them.


Curtain Rods

Plants need light, so it makes sense to hang them in front of a window! It wouldn’t be the most convenient idea for curtains that you open and close often, but it’s great for windows where the curtains can stay open most of the time. I used shower curtain hooks to hang several plants this way. The rollers on the curtain hooks make it easy to move the plants, if you want to close the curtains.


Wall Brackets

I was honestly too nervous to hang plants from our ceilings. The house is about 90 years old, and the walls and ceilings are plaster and lathe. I had visions of the giant patches of plaster crumbling down on me, so I decided to use wall brackets. This method also gives you more flexibility about hanging heights.


These are the brackets I used. (The link is to Amazon, but they’re cheaper at IKEA, if you can get to a store).


If you’re feeling more courageous, here are some more ideas I’d like to try!

Hanging a ladder from the ceiling. This is just so peaceful and gorgeous!


Photo: Jennifer Chong of See and Savour

A large branch displaying multiple hangers. I love all the colors and designs!


Photo: Emily Katz of Modern Macrame 

How about a cool metal pipe or rod to display your plants?! A sleek look, and you could do it from a wall, if your ceilings are unreliable, like mine.

Photo: Cote Maison

Thanks for coming with me into the world of macrame and plants. I am clearly a little obsessed. I’ve got more new ideas coming up to share with you soon(ish)!

“Jewels”