So I’ve been waffling back and forth for a while on how to repurpose house hold ceramics and porcelain into planters. I followed a Reddit user posted video on how to hammer a nail into a ceramic mug successfully to make my own porcelain tea cup planter with drainage.
(note link above goes to Reddit. The subreddit contains the NSFW/NSFK F* word)
AND. IT. WORKS.
** Roofing nail or other large type of nail. Not the kind you use for hanging picture frames.
** Container for water big enough for your ceramic or porcelain cup
** A little bravery
I bought an orphaned tea cup at my local grocery from the clearance table. Then when I got home, removed the stickers and labels. While submerging it upside down I held it at an angle to get as much of the air bubble out as possible.
I started with a few light taps until I knew the nail was starting to hold itself up from the tip. Then a few more taps to be careful not to smash the nail right through my plastic bowl into my Boos woodblock, because that’d be a pain and a half to replace.
And hurray! It totally works! I then grabbed the nail and moved it in and out around the edge of the hole a little bit to smooth out the rough porcelain edges. The nail I use is a roofing nail so it has a little bit of texture coating on it.
I’m going to be honest, I’m not a very active person. (Though, I tend to go on hours long shopping adventures, like…once a quarter). I’ve always thought that having a puppy would be great. My parents finally got a dog…in my last year of high school and she was the most chill thing ever: loved people, liked to hang out, go on walks, etc. But she was my parent’s little white fluffy nugget of joy. Whenever I go over to visit friends and family who have dogs I tend to make friends with them super quick like.
As an adult, I have yet to get a doggo of my own. And with Lucy being the Queen that she is, I likely won’t be getting one for a while yet. So instead, I’m raising pups. Leaf pups. aka I’m growing plants from leaf cuttings I buy online or have plucked from my existing collection.
Did you buy that Korean import? Did you get caught by the allure of key words like “rare” and “chonky”? Were you capture by bright colors, interesting shapes, and dainty cuteness?
Well, of course you did! We all did!
Here are my collated notes on what to do once you receive that toilet paper wrapped poly-fill cushioned cube enclosed joy in the mail.
Gently unwrap and stare at it for about 5-15 minutes
Go to your plant area and decide where you want to place your new precious
Do not water
Place it in bright indirect light (on soil is ok so long as it is not wet or moist)
DO NOT TOUCH FOR AT LEAST A WEEK
Do not water
Do not water
Do not water
Case Study: In approximately 2 days, I root rotted this beautiful speckled agavoides. :'(
Mistakes were made.
I didn’t do it on purpose, I swear! I was being impatient. And impatience with succulents is the demise of said succulent. The sad part about all this, aside from plant death, is that this is not my first Korean succulent and/or succulent purchased online bare root (as it should be). My very very first is a chonky Potosina, and omg did I baby her to heck and back. It’s a miracle she didn’t root rot on me! I always try to make sure to check for new root growth before I introduce any moisture to the soil. This ensures that the plant is active and can absorb the moisture instead of the dried stem getting smushy and rotting. These are desert plants and they don’t like being moist. Lots of people suddenly in 2012 discovered that they don’t like the word “moist”, but succulents were there first.
My potosina took nearly 2 months to root up and stabilize. Part of the problem goes to step No. 5 above. I kept touching it. I kept picking it up to check if there was root growth. I kept moving it. I know it’s super tempting, but don’t do this!
The moral of the story: be patient.
In all likelihood the Korean succulent you purchased for it’s beauty will still be super cute when it arrives.
So you can just plop it somewhere safe where you can see it and let it do its thing!
In the Fairy Garden: (links to where I bought from, non-affiliate)
I live in a valley next to a temperate rainforest. If you don’t know what that is, think cold and rainy. Moist, even.
Succulents? They’re from Mexico, Central America, South Africa: hot and dry places. And why did I decide this was a good idea? Because. Officially I live in a zone 9b climate and my house is facing East with a set of nice big windows facing South. And I’m lucky enough to not have a house right up against another building so I actually get light!
What has grown well for me so far indoors with natural light:
String of Turtles
Random plant my grandmother gave me 3 years ago that props from cuttings like a champ.
What has not grown well for me so far indoors with natural light:
Jade plant (etoilatioooonnn!!!)
Calathea (goes super dark green and doesn’t produce new leaves much)
Graptopetalum Paraguayense Ghost (doesn’t like my draft window sil)
What is the climate like in my house?
Often: dry, dry dry dry dry dry. How? I don’t know, this house is hella old.
This is one of the factors I used to decide if I could raise and keep succulents inside the house. They are not huge proponents of humidity. All the pro-tips I have been reading online and on the r/succulents subreddit harp on deep watering when the plant looks like it needs water and not on a tailored schedule. So really, I’d say if you have a place with light or access to a grow light, you can TOTALLY have a little succulent buddy.
What’s my setup?
With winter well on it’s way over to say, “Hello”. I have set up a few bookshelves with grow lights I bought on Amazon to keep my collection and propagations going strong. Which grow lights? Yo, honestly I didn’t do much research beyond making sure they weren’t too cheap. My pro-tips here are to read reviews with a grain of salt. I’m a big believer in the LED light range and that you don’t have to spend $$$ on grow lights unless you’re doing so for business purposes like for growing succulents to sell.
Like with any hobby, it’s up to you how you budget your funds. I’m not here to tell you to not buy the super awesome MARS lights, just that, maybe try a cheaper alternative for now until you know for sure this is a hobby you’ll keep up in the long run? This advice applies for any hobby I try to get into. I never start off blowing $$$ on top quality equipment until I know I actually like the thing I’m doing.
Ok, if you really want to know. I have two sets of this one:
Dommia 20W Full Spectrum LED Grow Lights – https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B08NX1N3YJ?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details (not an affiliate link).
The price seems to bounce between $16 and $30. I’m assuming the price is higher right now than the last set I bought for $18 because it’s turning winter here in the northern hemisphere and demand for the light panels is much higher than in August/September. It has a built in timer and sticky pads and twist ties for versatile attachment options.
Yes, I mix my own soil. And No it’s not anything special.
1 part cactus or quality potting soil (I use Black Gold)
1 part maifan stone of various size ranging 1mm-10mm
1 part horticultural pumice
IMHO – the most important piece of this is drainage. If your soil mix is holding onto water and soggy, your plant will rot. It. Will. Rot. Use a pot with a drain hole, use terra cotta, use well draining soil. On it’s own, cactus mix soil out of the box from the big brands imho is not going to cut it.
And yeah, that’s basically it.
Deep water your plants when they feel slightly squishy and enjoy the variety!
Tools: US H 5 mm hook.
Yarn: Universal Cotton Supreme in colors Silken, Jade, and Seafoam
These are my personal opinions of the blog topic. I purchased the material with my own money and am not receiving any commission from the seller/maker nor am I affiliated with them.
Where do I even start this story?
Ahem, *cough*, hrmm. OK.
About a month ago my sister told me that she was going to make a crochet cardigan. Being the garment making nerd I am, I asked which one, and then promptly offered to make it with her. So, that’s how that started. I first glanced at Carrie’s blog post and was pleased to see that it had a fairly familiar organizational scheme when it came to the pattern itself.
Free knitting and crochet patterns are notoriously poorly written. IMHO: if it’s free, then try to rely on your own skill to figure it out. Not everyone is a professional technical writer or even use English as their first language, and you most certainly are not owed their every waking moment with petty questions you could figure out by asking your craft groups or even just a basic Google search. In other words: check your privilege before you go mouthing off to the designer about a “poorly” written pattern…that’s a whole other topic though.
Getting back to the point here —
How it went: OK.
Final Outcome: Pretty damn pleased.
Now, why do I feel like it was just “OK”? A few reasons. The main issue I have with the written pattern is that it is incomplete in some places.
In particular the modeled size is not apparent, single crochet across the front edge for the collar instructions are missing, and pocket construction is incorrect. So if you’re a super beginner to crochet, how crochet stacks, and how crochet garments grow, you might be better off looking elsewhere.
BUT tbh, that’s about the extent of my pet-peeves. Otherwise, this is a great beginner project!
– Carrie’s video tutorial is great! It covers all the pet-peeves listed above regarding missing/incomplete written instructions. I highly recommend watching or even just listening.
– The cardigan is open front so it fits a large variety of body shapes and sizes.
– The construction is familiar territory, so if you’ve made 3 dimensional objects or garments before, this will be cake to you.
– Her website isn’t stacked with ads (I do run an ad blocker).
My favorite part is the herringbone double crochet stitch.
Though I’ve been in fiber arts a long time, crochet is still able to surprise me with the way people have figured out how to make different stylized rows of knots!
And now the juicy meaty bits: my modifications.
Why did I decide to make modifications to Carrie’s pattern even though I just said it was fine the way it is written? Because I hate seaming. Seaming and weaving in ends to finish a project in both crochet and knitting are my least favorite activities.
– Working from the bottom up as instructed, but worked the entire piece instead of the back and two front panels separately. I worked rows for my size – 20 rows, at which I then began to work the parts separately for the arm holes.
– Turn, then chain 1 instead of chain 2 and turn at the end of the rows on the body.
– Sleeves constructed in the round. The herringbone double crochet is a stitch pattern that needs the front and the back of the row to make the stitch pattern show correctly. So what I did for the sleeves was to ch2, work the pattern, then slip into the top of the first herringbone double crochet, then turn and ch2, etc. This created a nice continuous underarm that would otherwise have to be seamed. meh.
My overall Review rate:
As a Free Pattern: 4/5
Pattern Accuracy (does the pattern actually make the advertised object): 5/5
Supplemental Resources Provided by the Designer: 5/5
These are my personal opinions of the blog topic. I purchased the object with my own money and am not receiving any commission from the seller/maker nor am I affiliated with them.
Do you see this gorgeous bit of hand crafted goodness?!?!!
So, how did I come across the need for a hand turned crochet hook? It started with trying to find my 5.0mm hook, which I believe is permanently lost somewhere in the living room. You know, like how the dryer eats socks, pretty sure my living room furniture is in a pact with each other to eat and hide my craft supplies. But I digress.
A few weeks ago my sister and I decided to do a crochet-a-long of this cardigan. And I had purchased a lot of Universal Yarns Cotton Supreme yarn, intending to making a blanket with it. But like with most projects, plans change. And so, I needed to find my 5.0mm crochet hook!
Most of my crochet hooks are from a set of Clovers that I purchased off of Amazon on a whim one day, but for this, since I couldn’t find the hook, I decided to scour etsy for a hand made one to replace it! And that’s how I found HenPeckedHooks. The maker uses interesting natural wood grain details and I couldn’t resist! The hooks are very reasonably priced and they happened to have the size I was looking for ready to ship!
Upon opening the box, I was happily surprised at how little packaging was used. I appreciate a seller who doesn’t over pack, under pack, and recycles packing supplies. In this case, there was a perfect amount of packing for shipping. No excess! The hook arrived at my door in great shape. Thanks USPS! (I’ve gotten some abused boxes through USPS before, never the sellers fault)
The hook came packaged in a neat little box with the company logo and a nice thank you stamped on the underside of the lid. This is definitely a box work having for storage as I don’t think my other hook and needle cases will be able to store this. That said, I did purchase this hand crafted piece because of the large handle on purpose. I crochet holding the tool in my right hand with my wrist rotated flat on top and yarn tensioned with my left hand. When I use hooks with a very small handle, it hurts. Like I can’t crochet longer than maybe half an hour.
I’m not knowledgeable with wood working, but I did notice a light lacquer chemical scent upon opening the package. I’m not worried about that at all. After a few days sitting out, it has off gassed all the weird smells and is only noticeable if I place the piece directly under my nose. The piece is not sticky feeling and the weight is substantial without feeling heavy. It’s a nice solid piece of wood! The size is placed on the bottom of the hook and appears to be chiseled into the wood and not just painted on. I’ll never loose track of what size it is unlike other wood tools I have purchased in the past where the size is printed on the wood and easily rubs off. Looking at you KnitPicks wood DPNs :glare:
I have been working on the cardigan with my sister using a metal Susan Bates hook I found in my craft stash while I awaited the arrival of this tool, which brings me to the other point I want to talk about. This hook does have a nice rounded tip at the top, but does not have a pointed tip at the hook end and the hook space itself is small.
When it arrived I tried a few half double crochet on my current work in progress and had a difficult time getting the hook through the loops. Granted I am using cotton yarn. Since there is no tip at the hook end it has been difficult to get all the strands of the ply and I end up splitting the yarn. The space in the hook is definitely smaller than a size 4 / Worsted weight gap. So sadly, I haven’t been using it at all for my current project so that the tension and drape would not suddenly be off.
If I were to work a project with this hook I am slightly concerned at what kind of gauge this will produce. 5.0mm size is already fairly large, so if I have to use finer yarns with it because it can’t mange to work between loops, that might be a problem. I will have to actually gauge swatch crochet. :sad-face:
In the future I will be doing a swatch review with it and various yarn weights at a later time.
My overall First Impression rate:
As a Buyer: 5/5
First Impression: 7/10
Last night I published my first official knitting pattern on Ravelry! Hurrah for me!! Bold Inspiration is a free knitting pattern available for download on this page or through Ravelry.
But as most of us know, Rav’s got some iteration to work through to make the new design usable. I personally am lucky enough to not have had any serious issues with it excepting my professional opinion as a software developer myself. But that aside, I totally understand and accept that the site isn’t usable for a large number of people…and the response to the critique new design update was not handled gracefully, like. at. all. 😐
Yes yes, I’ve done others in the past. Two to be exact, but they’ve been lost in the shuffle of moving my domain host. 🙁 Also those other two patterns were never officially published anywhere publicly except my blog-0-sphere.
Enough of the politics of the thing! I’m here to post a celebration about my first self-published knitting pattern! 😀
Bold Inspiration Specs:
Sizes: S M, L or 18.75”, 21”, 23.25” circumference crown.
I chose the name for the hat based off of a phrase I heard uttered by YouTuber Spawn Wave. I think he was talking about some video game publisher doing something, I don’t remember. haha. I’ve had the idea for this hat pattern for a while now, and I’d been hoarding the beautiful split skein matching gradient yarn for years and since I’m taking some time off work this week I figured it would be lovely as a textured beanie.
Why is it a Free?
TBH: I’m an amateur when it comes to writing patterns. I definitely fall into the trap of assuming that the maker of my pattern is going to be as proficient as I am. Which is totally the wrong mindset to have when writing instructions for creating an interactive object: I had a close friend take a look, I tried my best to make it as clear as possible so that you are able to recreate the beanie for yourself to enjoy, and really I don’t plan on becoming a professional designer. And thus, it is a free knitting pattern.
Bold Inspiration uses a cute little slip stitch and mock cabled pattern to create a project that is high in texture, yet simple to work. 🙂
My Tip for Cast-On Working in the Round
One of the things I’ve found over the year while knitting is that I sometimes cast-on 1 extra or 1 less than I need for a pattern. Since working in the round makes it inconvenient to drop a stitch or easily cast on a new one, I have a method to work around it instead of ripping back and recasting.
Step 1: place the beginning of round marker (BORM), prepare to work in the round making sure not to twist your stitches, and slip the first stitch purl wise.
1 less than needed: If I happen to be short a stitch, I’ll lift the long strand that always happens to happen between the last stitch and the first stitch and knit or purl into the back loop as needed for the pattern.
1 more than needed: If I happen to have one more stitch, I’ll slip the last stitch without knitting it, remove the BORM, move the slipped stitch back to the left hand needle, replace the BORM, and k2tog. This method is actually super handy for hiding the join/jog that can happen when working in the round.
The Bold Inspiration hat starts with 100+ stitches cast on using the German Twist method, so if that method is unknown to you and already super fiddly, sneaking in an extra stitch or k2tog to get the right number without having to redo the cast-on makes life way easier.
One of my cousins reached out to be recently to ask for advice about skincare.
My immediate reaction was to ask what her skin type is and what her goals were. Knowing these two things make building a skincare routine to be more effective.
There are a lot of blogs and resources out there explaining the 10 step Korean Skincare routine, these are just my personal notes and preferences.
Starting out: I advised that at the very least she should get a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen.
And does it matter which one she should spend more money on?
I said cleanser. There should be nothing stopping you from getting this first important step in your skincare routine.
If your facial cleanser and cleansing routine is not good, then all the products you apply afterwards will not be effective and essentially a waste of money. A good cleanser gets the job done. I know there is a lot of fuss out there over PH levels, laurel sulfates, etc., but there are a few things I keep in mind that categorize a cleanser as good in my view:
It does not sting my face
It does not make my face feel super dry
In the process of using it, I don’t make a huge mess in my sink
Now these are just some of the basics and does not include make up removal; I am a believer in the double cleanse for when I wear makeup. There is such a huge variety of water based cleansers out there that there is very much a possibility of finding a great one that is on the budget side. And because of that, there’s no need to settle on something that works just ok.
Moisturizer is the next step in a basic routine. There are some general rules that I go by when incorporating more steps that I also apply to moisturizers:
Less than 20 ingredients
I am ok with more than 20 ingredients when the list is clearly listing various plant extracts
Dimethicone, silicone, or fragrance is not high on the list
The type of moisturizer you choose also depends on the environment you live in. In dryer climates you will likely want to use a cream based moisturizer, where as in the summer humidity you may opt for a gel. There is also the workplace to consider, air conditioning, air movement, going in and out of hot, cold, humid, dry, zones, etc. Knowing where you are going to be for the day can also determine which moisturizer you want to use.
My general rule of thumb: just put some on, your face will thank you.
Sunscreens! Just like facial cleansers there are so many great Asian sunscreens available that sometimes it is really hard to choose just one. Please remember that a bb cream or foundation with spf in it is not a good replacement for this step. In general you should be using a large pea size, 1/4 tsp, amount to cover your face. There are a lot of great youtube videos demonstrating just how much product that is and how cakey your face will look if you try to do that with a color correcting product.
When purchasing a sunscreen you also want to make sure you are reading the spf description: broad spectrum or bust. There are three types of sunscreens: physical/mineral, chemical, and mixed. Usually I opt for mixed when looking for a good daily basic, then after that I go for a physical/mineral type. The 100% chemical type I’m not really a fan of because of the smell and the likelihood of it having unsafe ingredients, which I’ll go into more detail later in this post.
A physical/mineral broad spectrum sunscreen is your best bet for long lasting coverage with minimal side effects. But it is also most likely to give you a white cast and flash back in photos. To combat that, I like to use the mixed type. The mixed type also has the advantage of the chemical sunscreen formulas that are more liquid and easier to spread on my face.
The rest of the 10 step routine:
So there are also the serums, essences, beauty waters, moisturizing toners, acid toners, face masks, sheet masks, blackhead strips, etc. And they are all products for specific purposes. At this point you want to really focus on making sure you are:
Reading product descriptions
Read reviews from other users,
Read ingredient lists
Make sure you are not clashing any product ingredients: don’t use a physical exfoliant and then a chemical exfoliant.
I find it easier to choose one skin issue to fix at a time: redness, pores, blackheads, overall texture, dark spots, brightening, etc.
Especially if you have sensitive or reactive skin, spot test on the back of your neck or somewhere on your upper arms before your face.
Now for the fun parts: once you figure out what ingredients work for you and what combination of products works, you budget can be cut way down because you are no longer spending money on various products to test. And also, my favorite part, all the limited edition packaging! 😀