Friday, July 26, 2013

Mini Succulent and Cactus Garden

I have many, many cacti and succulents in my home (and not just the fake ones I make for my Etsy shop). I loooove them ... There's so much variety, they hardly grow so they basically look the same all the time, and I can forget to water them for a month and they somehow still survive. So when I saw this post from A Beautiful Mess, I was inspired. I found the perfect planter for a dining table centerpiece at Salvation Army, then went to Lowe's and bought some cactus soil, a four-pack of succulents, and a couple cacti.

Since the pot doesn't have a drainage hole, I put some rocks in the bottom. The rocks are some I already had from using them as vase filler. Then I put a little soil in the bottom over the rocks ...
... Arranged the plants, then filled soil in around the plants and added some decorative stones to the top. This is what I ended up with:
I think it's pretty cute and makes a good centerpiece for our square table. This project was quick but a little more than I usually spend on my projects (around $30 for everything). I think it was totally worth it.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Garden Build

Ready for a lengthy post? Planning and building a 450 square foot vegetable garden is part of what's been keeping me occupied this spring and summer. You may remember my garden of broken dreams from the past...
The worst part of this garden was that it was difficult to access, and the deer would still jump through the circus tented netting and eat the plants. It's also a difficult shape for a vegetable garden. Now this garden is back to a perennial garden (thanks to my great neighbor and all of the transplants I got from her!) and I've moved on to bigger and better gardens. Meet my new space:
My new vegetable garden has 308 square feet of planting space in one continuous bed. Here's the plan and lumber cut list:

When I was planning this garden, here's what I considered:
1. I wanted to use soaker hoses to water the plants and also didn't want to waste space between beds so the garden is one giant bed rather than eight separate 8'x4' beds.
2. Another reason why I made one continuous bed was for ease of installing deer fencing. If the beds had been separate, I would've had to build the fence around the beds, which means more fence posts, more mulch, and more fencing. The way the garden is now allows for one-100' roll of fencing to go around the entire perimeter with some extra left over for the door.
3. Maximizing lumber was essential. The dimensions of the garden allow for that. Even though I have to step into some of the beds to reach plants, it was worth it to me to keep the project economical. I used 1"x6"x12' boards and ended up needing 17 with little scrap left over. Each color on the plan above is a separate 12' board.
4. I wanted to be able to enjoy my garden. That's where the cut into the bed comes in at the top, straight back from the door. I left enough space for two chairs and a table.

After my plan was set and Bobby said he thought it was a good plan too, we started building! This is the site:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Shortbread Cookies + Instagram

If you can't tell from the filter and frame of this photo, I've hopped on the Instagram bandwagon. I'll be publishing everyday life photos, works in progress for the shop, and other projects that I'm working on (my next big project is making a couple sofa tables). If you'd like to follow me, my screen name is harvestinghart.

Now, moving on to the cookies. These cookies are melt in your mouth delicious and so unbelievably easy to make. I made them for a potluck Tuesday, and I think people thought they were just circles cut from a roll of cookie dough. Should've made a sign .. Oh well. Now I have about eight of them left just for me! You can find the recipe on Paisley Jade's blog here. I follow this recipe by the book. It's so great.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ann Arbor Artisan Market

If you live in the Ann Arbor area, the artisan market is a great place to see local artists and crafters every week. I've been setting up the last two Sundays and it's been a really great experience. Not only have all of the artists and customers I've encountered been friendly, but I'm also selling some things and getting to spend time with my sister. The Sunday Artisan Market is every Sunday from April through Christmas from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. in Kerrytown in Ann Arbor (where the farmers market sets up on Saturdays). I won't be there every Sunday, but if you like Harvesting Hart on Facebook, I'll be sure to post when I'll be at the market. I try to have new items there each week I'm there, and there are many items (earrings, bracelets, pins, hair bows, etc) that I don't have listed on Etsy yet. You can also like the artistan market here.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Chair Makeover - The Remaking a Curbside Chair for Under $20

So I drove by this chair sitting out by my neighbor's curb and absolutely loved it but had no space for a green chair (or any chair) in my house. After thinking about it for the evening, I decided I couldn't resist this freebie. It may have been the half bottle of wine, but I somehow convinced my husband to walk with me to get it. Here's what we picked up:

Cute, right? Once I got a closer look at it in the daylight, though, I just about completely regretted my decision of picking it up for a few reasons:
1. The vinyl was stained. No cleaning would get it off.
2. It was really dirty. There was no getting the dirt and nastiness out of the seams of the cushions. 
3. The bottom burlap was torn and the padding underneath clearly needed to be replaced.
4. There were spiders everywhere in the underside. Eeek!

I decided that I'd take a stab at recovering it. It doesn't have arms, which I thought would make it easier, and the frame seemed in good shape. If you're planning on recovering a chair, make sure it has a good foundation. This one had springs and I decided to keep them rather than switching to plywood since the springs looked okay. I took a lot of photos taking the chair apart to make sure I knew how to put it back together. I also made sure to keep the outside pieces in good shape to reuse them as a pattern.

Then I cleaned it with disinfecting soap and got all of the spiders and spiderwebs out of the underside. Yeesh, that was gross. I then let it dry, and primed and painted the wooden legs and back support a mint color from a paint sample. After those dried, I used an old burlap bag to cover the springs. This bag was free from a local coffee shop and was washed so it would shrink and not ravel as easily.  I purchased a couple yards of quilting batting from JoAnn's using a coupon for padding the chair. I stapled one layer of batting around all sides, used three layers for the seat, and two layers on the back support. It's turned out to be really comfortable. 
Making sure the cover would fit over the batting.
Then I used the old cover pieces to make the new cover by tracing them on the new fabric with a half inch seam allowance. The new cover is made from a 6'x9' painter's canvas drop cloth I bought from Lowe's for $10. I still have over half of it left for other projects too! Then my husband and I stretched and stapled the cover to the underside of the chair, covered the back and reattached the back to the chair. Here's how it turned out!

Before and after:

It's perfect in our living room and makes it seem more welcoming than before when we had just our gigantic sectional and one chair. I'm so excited to have this pretty chair in my space, and only for the cost of some batting and a drop cloth. 

On a side note, check out this sweet compound miter saw I found at a garage sale this weekend for $60. Barely used. Guess I have some projects to get started on!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Crochet Cushion from a Twin Sheet - Free Pattern

This project originally came from wanting to make a crocheted floor poof. I thought that a twin size sheet would totally make enough fabric yarn for something that big ... Wrong! It did, however, make enough yarn to make this 12" couch pillow/cushion. See below for instructions on how to cut the sheet and the pattern for you crocheters.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Free Cute U.S. Map Printable Download

I created this map to put pins in where I've made sales in my Etsy shop, but you could use it to mark places you've been, teach children (or adults!) the states, or frame it and use it as decor. Note that Alaska is shown at 50% scale because it's huge!

For printing, I took it to Office Max and had it printed on card stock for $0.70. If you have an inkjet printer, just watch your print margins and try it as "fit to page." Download here on Google Docs and enjoy!

Friday, March 22, 2013

DIY Plant Markers from a Plastic Bottle

After last year's seed starting fiasco, I considered not starting my own seeds again this year. Buying plants at the store is so inexpensive, you don't have to worry about your cats eating them, and you don't have to spend the time taking care of them. But, my super great husband got me this four foot grow light for my birthday last year, and so I plant again!

Planting seeds is really only worth it, in my opinion, if there are varieties of plants that you want that can't be found at the store. Yesterday I only started some heirloom tomatoes and peppers, and some random seeds I had left over from last year. I put off planting these for close to a week because I didn't have plant markers and didn't want to spend money on buying some (I know, I get hung up on little things when it comes to getting things done!). Many of the DIY plant markers require rocks, wood, popsicle sticks, or clay, none of which I had on hand. So I roughly followed a tutorial on how to make them out of a plastic bottle.

Click on photo to enlarge.
1. Get your container. I used a vinegar bottle, but you can use a milk jug or any plastic container you can cut through. 2. Cut down the center of your bottle. You may have to use a craft knife to get it started. 3. Cut off the top. 4. Cut off the bottom. You will now have a sheet of plastic. This is the time to wash the plastic well. 5. Cut the strip into 3/4" or so strips. 6. Plant markers! You can cut the bottom to a point but I found it unnecessary. Just write on them with a permanent marker and you're good to go! The tutorial I saw this on said they would hold up to watering, but I have yet to find out.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cross Stitched iPhone Case

My sister bought this case for me as a gift for my birthday back in November, but I just got around to spending some time on it in the last couple days. Isn't it cute? I saw a similar pattern online, and used some thread I bought from a garage sale. The case I have is no longer available on Amazon, but you can find a similar one here.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Andes Mint Cupcakes

Here's another sweet treat I made for my mom's birthday (along with the coffee syrups) and they were so yummy. I halved this recipe to only make about 16 cupcakes for a small celebration, but you can see the full recipe here. It looks intensive because of the long ingredients list, but it was really pretty simple. You could even use a box cake mix for the cupcakes and just make the frosting and ganache. Also don't substitute peppermint essential oil for peppermint extract like I almost did. The bottle was open, ready to be poured when I had an "aha!" (or maybe more like a "stop it stupid!") moment to make me come to my senses. Peppermint is known to be awakening, after all.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Make Your Own Coffee Syrups

Here's a super easy way to make your own coffee syrups. These recipes come from A Beautiful Mess, but my recipes below are halved to fit in these 7 oz World Market bottles. See below the recipes for a gift wrapping idea! This is the perfect inexpensive and easy gift.

Vanilla syrup: 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. Heat water and sugar in a pan over medium low heat, stirring constantly until dissolved. Stir in vanilla extract. Pour into container.

Caramel syrup: 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup caramel. Heat water and sugar in a pan over medium low heat, stirring constantly until dissolved. Stir in caramel until disolved. Pour into container.

For a raspberry syrup recipe, click here. They also have lavender and honey recipes here.

I gift wrapped the bottles in the box they came in. This is the box before decoration. Reusing this box helps so the bottles won't fall over in the gift bag and possibly leak. You can purchase the bottles for $3.99 (for both!) at World Market.

For the next part, all you need is some kraft paper, a pen, double sided tape and a bit of scrapbook paper. For the bottle labels, I just wrote the labels and designs on kraft paper, cut the circles out, and used double sided tape to stick the labels to the bottles. For the box, simply cover the printing on the front with a written label. I gave these to my mom for her birthday this weekend and she didn't know that I made them until my husband told her!

Friday, February 22, 2013

My Daily Reads

There's nothing I look forward to more on a working morning than checking my email for new posts from my favorite bloggers. The blogs listed below are my must-reads. I hope you find in them a blog you love too!

Craft Blogs
Petra does a lot of crocheting and sells her patterns online. Right now she's doing a 365 photo series and I like seeing what she's working on each day. Zoom Yummy
The Hawthorne Threads blog complements their online fabric store. They show what's just arrived in their store and some projects they're working on. Hawthorne Threads Blog
I originally started following Suzanne's blog because she does a lot of pattern making and sewing clothing. Now she just purchased a house, so there are many home DIYs on her blog. Adventures in Dressmaking
This blog has cute crochet projects, inspiration, and some craft business info. I love any modern crochet blog. The New Crochet

Random craftiness, including her recent office interior designing project. She's a sparse blogger (like me!) but I like reading her posts when she does write. Compulsive Craftiness
Novita, who lives in Tokyo, blogs about sewing projects. Most of the posts I've seen have been for pretty undergarments. VeryPurplePerson
The latest textile trends and releases, both domestic and international. She provided a really extensive review of the new lines at Quilt Market in the fall.  True Up

Food Blogs
Andie is literally the only blogger whose recipes my husband trusts. We regularly make her meatloaf, chicken parmesan wrap ups, favorite meatballs, and alfredo sauce. She's super great. Can You Stay for Dinner

Kristen is a really fun blogger and I've found several recipes of hers that I like. Her blog is a good daily read. Iowa Girl Eats
The name says it all. Yummy treats, including one I'll be making soon: Lemon Lavender Cookies. My Baking Addiction

Lifestyle Blogs
Elsie and Emma have a great blog about everything: food, style, DIY,  etc.  The best part is they often post up to three times a day. A Beautiful Mess 
I love reading about Kristy and her family in New Zealand. She also has great cookie recipes. Paisley Jade

Business Blogs
Everything Etsy really has something for everyone crafty, but I have this under business because I receive her business newsletter with posts about photography and selling on Etsy. Everything Etsy
Seth Godin's blog has thoughts on marketing and business. I'm personally inspired by his emphasis on being creative, and I always have something to think about after reading his blog. He has some great TED talks too. Seth Godin

Monday, February 11, 2013

DIY Little Wooden Houses

Here's a cute tutorial that's super quick if you have a compound miter saw. Ours is being loaned to us by my husband's parents while we build our coffee table, and I think I might get one since it's so handy! You can also use a jigsaw (as shown in this tutorial, which was my inspiration), but the compound miter saw will allow you to have exact angles ... just how I like them.

1-2x2 piece of lumber
Compound miter saw or jigsaw
Fine sand paper

1. Measure to the middle and make a mark at each end of the board. Draw a faint pencil line lengthwise down the center of the board.
2. Set your compound miter saw to a 45 degree angle. Place your board pencil line side down on the saw base and cut across the board near one of the ends.
3. Flip the board over. Find where the angle you just cut meets the pencil line on your board. Line up the saw and cut so the pencil line is at the peak of the little house's roof.
4. Set your saw back to a 0 degree angle and cut off the board however tall you'd like your houses (mine are approximately 1.5", 2", and 2.5" tall).
5. Sand sharp corners and pencil marks.
6. Paint the roof.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Anthro Display Hack: Hat Stand

I'm planning on adding hats to my Etsy shop soon, and have been searching online for inspiration and advice for photography. One site somewhat obviously suggested checking out companies whose product photography you like, and I immediately thought Anthropologie. Their product photos are taken on a white background and use few models, which is what I like in my photography. Here's the hat stand I came across that I fell in love with, and is also my model for my copycat stand:

Cute, right? A simple wire hat stand. I found the original source to buy one, but it was almost $25 including shipping. Call me cheap but I'm not willing to pay that, so I made a trip to JoAnn's, picked up some wire, and made it yesterday evening. Here's what I came up with using $2 of wire:

Boom. Mine is shorter and appears larger in this photo but it works. I have to work on getting a few kinks out of the base, but overall, a success. See the quick tutorial below. I wasn't planning on this being a tutorial, so if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments.

Click on photo to enlarge.
1. Get your supplies: Tape measure, 12 gauge wire (two 3 yard rolls), wire cutters, and a bowl that measures approximately 18" around.
2. This is the wire I purchased. It was $1.99 a roll but with two 50% off coupons from JoAnn's, it was $1.99 for two rolls. You don't want any wire much thinner than this or it won't be able to support a hat.
3. Cut four-one yard long sections of wire. Measure to the halfway point (18") of each section. This will be the top of the hat stand. Mold one piece of wire around the overturned bowl until it intersects. Twist to hold in place. Measure 2" down from the circle you just created and bend the wire outward. Using the bowl again, bend the wire down until it forms a half circle. See photo. Repeat until you have four shaped wires.
4. Set your four forms inside each other and fan out until it resembles a sphere. Attach them together at the top with a small piece of wire.
5. Wrap wire around the top and bottom of the straight section to hold in place.
6. Cut a piece of wire approximately 20" and make a circle around your bowl, wrapping the wire ends around each other to hold the circle's shape. Wrap each of the end wires of your stand around the circle and trim.
7. Cut another piece of 20" wire and make another circle around your bowl, wrapping the wire ends around each other to hold in place. Connect around the middle of the sphere in four places.

That's it! I think I'm going to use these at an artisan's market this spring and fall to show off my hats! Might even make some taller and shorter to complete a display. I haven't decided yet if I want to spray paint the stand, leave as is, or do something fun like wrapping strips of fabric around and gluing. Such a fun project!