Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Recycled Can Lid Plant Markers

I'm trying my hand at some container gardening this year and so far things are not looking all that impressive. I think my downfall might lie in the fact that I'm starting things from seed. I really should buy them at the nursery after someone with some skill has ensured that they survived the sensitive seedling stage. I'm not exactly renowned for my green thumb.

(Yes, I know this is not a zucchini but it makes for a much prettier picture than my sad little seedlings do.)
I realized the other day that I would need some plant markers so that I could remember what was what. Sure I could have just used a sharpie and a popsicle stick but where's the fun in that?

(This isn't really butternut squash either but that antique chicken is neat right?)

In the end I came up with a plant marker that made use of some recyclables so that I could be a friend to the planet and lessen my guilt for the untimely death of all the plants that are sure to perish in my care this summer.

Want to make your own? Here's what you need:

Can lids (I have a can opener that takes off the lids without leaving sharp edges. This is a definite must. You could also use frozen juice lids)
Forks (new, used or antique)
masking tape (optional)
Permanent Sharpie marker and a baby wipe

Stamping set
(I used the 1/8" set and I got it from Harbor Freight. They have other sizes available so you could use a larger set if desired.)

Place your can lid on a stable surface. I just worked on my crafting table as it's seen a lot of wear and tear and is really sturdy, but you're going to be smacking this thing pretty hard so think about that before you choose a work surface.

I used a strip of masking tape as a guide so that I could keep my letters fairly straight. This is optional if you have a good eye for making things straight, or if you like the look of random letter placement.

Then you just grab a letter stamp and start whacking away.

You might want to practice on a spare can lid before jumping in with your stamps. It takes a little experimentation to find out how many hits you'll need to make to achieve optimum results.

Once you're done, remove the tape and admire your work. You could leave it as is, or use the Sharpie method to add a little more dimension.

First off, make sure you have a baby wipe handy. Then, take a permanent black sharpie pen and color over your stamped letters. Really get the ink down into the grooves. Before the ink has a chance to dry, wipe across the letters with the baby wipe. This will remove all of the markers except for what is trapped in the indentations and will give your letters more definition.

Now it's onto the fork. I found some at Goodwill, but if you've got some extra ones lying around the house, or one that's been mangled in the dishwasher then this is the perfect use for it.

Take your pliers and bend the two middle tines back and away from the rest of the fork. Then bend the tips of them back up. You'll probably have to play with it to get it in the shape you want.

There just needs to be enough gap for the can lid to fit snugly. You might also have to bend/adjust the angle of the fork handle as well so that your plant marker will stand up nice and straight and tall.

And there you have it. A cute and quick recycle project for the garden!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

She's a Maniac, Maniac on the Floor

Finally - I've got a new item in the shop!

Isn't she just adorable? She's made from the Sammie the Sock Monster pattern from Danger Crafts but I thought instead of socks she could rock out some awesome leg warmers instead.

I am a child of the 80's you know and her little leg warmers remind me of the heyday of legwarmers - and my introduction to them in the movie Flashdance. Every time I look at her it's like I'm reliving scenes from the movie all over again. Except of course that she's not a welder supplementing her income by choreographing and performing elaborate shower scenes at a local strip club all while harboring dreams of enrolling at Julliard.

She's just a sweet little monster with long cold legs that need some covering. Maybe I should have fashioned her a little sweatshirt with the collar cut out so one shoulder would be exposed. Nah, that would have been overkill.