A Bottle Garden

I saw bottle planters on the internet a few weeks ago and decided I’d really like to make some. So I did. Bam!

Bottle Planters

I’ve Baby’s Tears in two of them, and a maidenhair fern I found at the very back of the plants when I went plant shopping. It was a bit sad looking, with a lot of brown leaves. I pruned those away and split it in half. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how long the ferns will survive in the bottle – it might be too small for them. We’ll see though, right?

There’s a lot of methods around for cutting a bottle like this, the most popular being wrapping fuel soaked string around the bottle, setting that on fire and then dumping the lot in cold water. Knowing my luck, this would have resulted in exploding bottles and shards of glass everywhere.

When I was a kidlet, I remember seeing one of those commercials for mail order stuff for a bottle cutter. I wanted one so much, but never got one. Now I’m (technically) an adult, I decided I’d just bloody get one. I looked at a few, and ended up going with an Ephrem’s Bottle Cutter because it looked like the one where the least amount of things could go wrong.

I’d love to show you some “In progress” shots, but the technique is very much a two handed one, so I didn’t get around to taking any pictures. It was dead easy, although I did find it tricky to keep the right amount of pressure on the bottle at first. Too much with the hand on the neck of the bottle makes it kick up and slip out of place.

It’s a time consuming process, but not a difficult one. I tried the boiling/iced water baths as a way to break the bottle once scored, but it didn’t work so I went to the candle/ice method. Essentially,  you’re not cutting the glass so much as controlling a break. Heating followed by rapid cooling shocks the glass and it breaks along the weakest point which is the scoreline the cutter etches into the surface. You can then finish the cut edge with emery paper etc (wetted). I took off the corners of the edges, but didn’t bother polishing further – if I was making drinking glasses I would polish a lot more but the breaks were smooth enough for planters.

The cutter itself is pretty cool, though I got the basic model and might get the handy dandy attachments which will make it possible to cut tiny and huge bottles, as well as necks. Don’t stop me now! I’m having a good time!

Also adding to the finished project pile is the cushion cover I was doing to re-cover a footstool.

Cushion Cover

Working on a printed canvas is lovely good times, although it took me a long while to get out of the habit of “marking off the chart” at the end of every section. No chart to mark! I’ve made mistakes, but meh, who doesn’t? We’re going to attach this to some canvasy material to make it fit the stool – the edges aren’t quite long enough to cover the sides. This is listed as design “5.017” by Collection d’Art.

As for works in progress – I have a lot of catching up to do on the Temperature Scarf, and a new kit to do (if I can find it) which I will show you ages from now when it’s done.

A Frog Prince to Sit Upon

The latch hook frog prince I did a little while ago bounced around for a bit while I was kicking the sewing machine to get it to play nice. It’s elderly, and often decides things are too hard and the tension goes all crazy. Anyway, it’s been kicked now so I have finished the frog prince cushion. Hooray! I did an envelope style back for it, and look I took a ton of photos in case you wanted to do an envelope style back for something. I’m pretty nice to you. I’ll add my usual disclaimer that this is how I did it, and it’s probably not the best/easiest/common way.
Pick your fabricFirst thing you’ll need to do is find some backing fabric. Having recently done a bit of a clear out, I had uncovered this froggy fabric. No idea where it came from, probably a swap at some point. It was fate, I reckon. Fate! You’ll need enough to cover the piece you’re backing, plus a couple of extra inches because you’ll be overlapping it. Cut the fabric in “half”. You can cut it exactly in half, or cut it so you have one piece wider than the other, which is what I did. Hem one cut edge on each piece. I didn’t take a photo of this, I assumed you’d seen a hem before. If you have the kind of machine that does fancypants stitches, you could use those for a bit of decorative flair. The Elna does straight, zig zag or somewhere in the middle, so I just straight stitched mine.

Pin this to bitsWith right sides facing, plonk the latch hook (or whatever) down on your fabric and pin the merry hell out of it. Pins pins pins, loads of them. Got room for another one? Slap it in! I’ve pinned with the latch hook facing me so that I can make sure the yarn isn’t sitting in the sewing zone. Just push it out of the way with your fingers (or a knitting needle. Or a butter knife) as you pin. You want to pin it so the fabric is pretty flat and tight over the latch hook. If you are doing this with latch hook, be prepared for it to all be a bit floppy because of the bulk of the yarn. Don’t worry, it’s all good.

FloppyThis is the backside of the pinning bonanza. What’s happening in the lower right corner? I have no idea. Now, you can pin both bits of fabric at once, overlapping them in the middle (the hem side goes in the middle, but you probably figured that out). I did one at a time because I am not brave.

Sewing the back on is a bit tricky I found. The bulk of the yarn makes the sewing machine sad. I found it incredibly helpful to move the position of the needle to the far left. Much easier to sew the edges that way as you don’t have to try and get the yarn under the foot. Sew all the way around, keeping the needle as close to the yarn as you can. Keep an eye out for yarn slipping into the path of the needle and just poke it back inside the seamline as you go. I went around twice, with a bit of a gap between the seams because I never really trust my seams to not burst later, so I added a second one as insurance.

If you are doing what I did, and adding the sections separately, just repeat the pin/sew bit. Make sure when you pin you have a good inch or more of overlap, otherwise you may end up with exposed cushion insert and you will offend the vicar.

Clipped corner

Once you’ve got both bits sewn on, trim your canvas and fabric to about an inch around (yes, Australia does use the metric system, but “about an inch” sounds better than “About 2.5cm”). Clip your corners! Otherwise they’ll make a horrible lumpy bulky bit and no one wants that. Just chop them as above. Trust me. Now you can turn the whole lot right side out through the envelope opening and shove your insert inside.

frogprince5

Here’s Mr Frog Prince all full of pillow insert. You could probably make your own insert if you had some fabric and stuffing laying about, but hell it was $4 so I splurged.

OopsAs you can see I am in extreme danger of offending the vicar. My overlap was not quite overlappy enough for the insert, but I’m hoping that sitting on the cushion a bit will squash it down eventually. Anyway it’s the back, if people look at the backs of cushions I think they’re just being rude.

While I’m here, I’ll show you the other work in progress I have going on. It’s the “cushion cover” which will instead cover a footstool.

WIPYes I should have it on a frame, but the frame I have is not quite wide enough, and I am too cheap to go and buy another one so I am doing it unstretched. I’m a rebel. The canvas is pretty firm, so it’s still coming out fairly evenly. Stop judging me.

WIP: Temperature Scarf, March

I’m a little late to show you this, which is mean of me because I am fully aware you’ve been laying awake for the past couple of days, staring at the ceiling and wondering when, oh when would this update ever come?? Well, you can sleep soundly tonight because it’s very much here. Behold! March!
Temperature Scarf March

I was going to proudly exclaim that I had not done any random increases again this month, but looking at this photo I’m not entirely sure I didn’t. Also didn’t finish weaving in the ends, so once more I beg your forgiveness thank you kindly. Another record broken this month for most days over 30 or something. I’m not entirely sure as I was sitting under a wet towel, whimpering. It’s lovely and Autumny now though, cool nights and generally nice days. Well worth the wait.

2013 Scarf So FarHere it is in all it’s glory. I’ve just measured it, and it’s a scrap under 94cm, so if you average that over the year with complicated maths all over the place (multiplication!) it should end up approaching 3.75 meters, if not slightly longer (since months have different numbers of days and I can’t be bothered doing quite so much mathing).

I’m also working on a cross stitch cushion cover, which is not destined to cover a cushion at all. I bought one with a frog on it not long ago and it turns out to be the perfect size to re-cover a small stool in the loungeroom that needs some TLC. Rather than giving up my lovely frog, I ordered a sort of floral thingy in earthy tones, and once it’s done I might even show it to you.